After going through divorce, I understand why God said He hates it. (1) He understands the pain and grief that the severing of one flesh causes His children. (2) Covenants matter to God. He wants us to keep our promises as well. (3) God knows how hard it is for some of us to accept change.
Many authors, including those in the Bible, talk about the importance of filling one’s mind with fresh, new ideas in the face of change. I knew I had to release crippling memories and moods that had taken root. Here I share an excerpt from my book Hello New Life about leaving behind the old life and embracing the new.
Excerpt from Hello New Life
My imagination served me well. How powerful and adept I was at hanging onto the old life. See, I thought I could mix the new with the old, thinking they could walk abreast. This was not wise, especially when Jesus required a “break with former things” (Matthew 9, Apostolic Study Bible).
I’m not alone in this—the mixing of the old with the new. It has been a problem for centuries.
Jesus so aptly gave a lesson on garment repair and winemaking in the same chapter: “No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for it will not adhere to the old garment. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out” (Matthew 9:16–17, KJV). I’m not alone in this—the mixing of the old with the new. It has been a problem for centuries.
Lot’s wife left us a gift as many of the ancients have. We are reminded in Scripture to “[r]emember Lot’s wife!” (Luke 17:32). She failed to see God’s provisions—the new life God had for her. Out of obedience she ran, but with each step came a refusal to accept the new life. In truth, I can’t judge her because I am like her. I looked back as well. Not only am I like her, but I resemble her husband as well in that I wanted to linger in my comfort zone (Genesis 19:16).
In a quote by Alexander Graham Bell, I hear the voice of Lot’s wife warning me to take heed: “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so longingly and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” From her podium of sodium, she speaks right into my life. Let me be her voice to you. In your loneliness, you will be tempted to look back. But your healing isn’t there. It’s in the destination just ahead.
God’s presence that leads and guides is found in the present—not in the past.
God’s presence that leads and guides is found in the present—not in the past. I love this verse in Ecclesiastes 5:20 about how God doles out joy in the present. I find it particularly beautiful in the New Living Translation: “God keeps such people [those people who accept their lot in life] so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.” The Apostolic Study Bible has this to say: “The man who finds contentment in what he already possesses receives an additional blessing from God.” Perhaps that additional blessing is enjoying life to the fullest. We cannot enjoy life to the fullest if we are brooding over the past. I am my own biggest hindrance.
Paul wrote about forgetting what lies behind and “straining forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13). Hello! Paul was the guy who should have spent life in prison for the atrocities he committed. But there’s always this: with that second chance afforded to him by God (and others), he created a new, beautiful life for himself. Most of us might spend the rest of our lives (or a big chunk of it) convalescing—recovering from the wrongs done to us by others or the wrongs we commit.
We should look to the example of Paul, the chosen instrument of God who immediately started promoting Jesus after his conversion (Acts 9:15). He was able to “put off [his] old self which belong[ed] to [his] former manner of life” to make the necessary transformation (Ephesians 4:22). Paul was able to shake it off, that old life.
______How will you allow God to create a new project? Since He sees the finished project, you must allow Him to trim and chop, sand if necessary, and even replace. In this way, you become new. Click To Tweet
How will you allow God to create a new project? Since He sees the finished project, you must allow Him to trim and chop, sand if necessary, and even replace. In this way, you become new.
To read my ideas about becoming new after the landscape of your life changes, get Hello New Life here.
Paula Nilsen has two grown sons and one daughter-in-love. She loves hanging out with her nine nieces and nephews who teach her all about pop culture, what to say and what not to say. She works at Pentecostal Publishing House as an editorial assistant.
Resources and Links
Hello New Life – Your guide to help you through divorce or life-changing events.