From time to time in life, it’s common for people to come to a place of reflection – looking back on our life and remembering, even analyzing, some of the things we’ve experienced through the years. We think upon things we’ve done, things we shouldn’t have done and things we wished we had done; relationships that were gained and lost, and those that are presently distant. In the final analysis, we all come to realize there are things we would have done differently, or situations we would have avoided altogether. Then there are those experiences that were completely out of our hands to control; all we could do was respond to the situation.
Perhaps when we find ourselves in these reflective moods, it might be that we are concluding a particular phase in our life – a cycle of life. As we conclude these cycles of life, we should appreciate two very important things. First: do not disdain where we came from or what we’ve walked through, good and bad. All of those experiences, with God’s help, played a role in making us who and what we are today. Paul alluded to this in Romans 8:28-29, when he said:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
If we are being conformed to the image of the Son of God, that would insinuate that we are being shaped and molded into something else than what we were at the beginning of the process. Who are we to say that, in shaping and molding us, He used the wrong application or methods? Consider that some of the things we learned as children, even from those we love and respect, turned out to be in error. Let’s put it this way: has your theology changed any since you first became a believer? If you’re growing in your faith, then it most likely has. The point is, God uses all of our experiences to teach us many things, and those experiences brought us to this point in our lives.
The second thing is connected to the first one: the end of one cycle is merely the beginning of the next one. The cycle we are embarking upon will require us to call upon and utilize the lessons learned in the previous one. Just because mistakes were made in experiences of the past doesn’t mean that we should discard those experiences altogether. Rather than throwing them away, we should glean important lessons from them. We can and will need to apply those lessons to the challenges we will certainly face as the next life cycle unfolds.
Finally, let’s consider that the winds of change blowing throughout the world, meaning that mankind is coming to the conclusion of a cycle and about to embark upon another. A better way to put it would be to say that we are fast approaching the culmination of one age and the beginning of another. Spiritually minded people sense that the Creator is moving in the earth and the time for climactic things to happen is upon us.
It’s like the birth pangs a mother experiences as she prepares to deliver a child. Initially, the labor pains are farther apart and not as intense as they will be. But as she cycles through the labor process and draws closer to the birth of the child, the pains intensify and grow ever more frequent – she can begin to sense the time of the child’s birth.
So as we draw closer to the end of this age and the beginning of the next, let us remember past experiences and embrace the lessons gained; we will need to apply them to the challenges before us as He continues shaping us into the image of His Son.