What’s under the Surface?
Some time ago, I was in my backyard and noticed a piece of wood lying beside the air-conditioning unit. It had been there for a long time, so I decided to move it. You can probably guess what happened when I picked it up. The insects that had been making their home under that piece of wood began to scurry for new cover.
Now, when I was walking by, that piece of wood looked normal. But it had become a home for varmints, a dwelling place for colonies of insects who stayed hidden beneath the veneer of the wood until someone disturbed their nest.
That incident serves as a good metaphor for our need to “pick up” our lives as men and see what’s hiding under them. If we are willing to deal with whatever comes out, we will see God do a fantastic work in us and then through us.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting there are “varmints” in your past. And I’m not a psychiatrist, so we’re not going to probe your psyche for deep, dark secrets. But each of us has a past, as they say. And since no man among us is perfect, we tend to cover our hurts and fears with Sunday smiles, nice suits, firm handshakes—and sometimes lies.
Someone asks, “How are you doing this morning?”
“Wonderful! Praise the Lord!”
“How’s the family?”
“Couldn’t be better!”
But if we picked up that piece of wood in that man’s “backyard,” stuff might scatter everywhere.
You can lay aside what happened yesterday as an excuse for what’s happening today.
Dealing with the Past
We men have become very adept at covering up our pain and lack. One of the things that cause us great pain is broken relationships. One reason they are so painful and crippling is that no one has ever showed us how to fix them.
You can lay aside what happened yesterday as an excuse for what’s happening today. I’m not denying that something happened in the past. It may even have been something devastating, such as rejection by your father or mother when you were a child, or a divorce that was so painful and/or bitter that you have never been able to get past its effects. Or you may have brothers, sisters, or former friends you don’t talk to anymore and wouldn’t speak to if they called.
Painful pasts come in all shapes, sizes, and degrees of intensity. In some cases, the person who has been the focus of your pain isn’t even around anymore. It’s too late to say you’re sorry or to hear those healing words from the other person’s lips. What can you do in cases like that?
Well, the Bible has a lot to teach us on this subject, because whatever your situation may be, it is no surprise to God. He is very aware of your past, and he knows that when things go wrong in your relationships, it can have a staggering effect.
Learning to Move On
If someone who has wronged you can’t be reached in the near or distant future, you’d better get on with your life. You don’t want to look up one day and realize you’ve made no progress for the past twenty years or so because that thing and those persons from the past have been controlling your mind. Let God cause that person to catch up with you while you keep moving.
Even if you don’t understand why certain things happened, God will always work out his purposes for good if you’ll give him a chance.
But you say, “My life is painful.” Oh, but God can make lemonade out of lemons. He can take a messed-up scenario and totally transform it if you allow his sovereignty to work in your life. That’s what God is after. He wants to mend your broken past so you can be fully useful again. God can turn a mess into a miracle.
The God Who Mends the Broken
A few years ago, an old lamp in our house fell and broke. It was in pretty bad shape, but we liked that old lamp, so I got out the Super Glue and went to work. I fit the pieces back together, let the glue dry, and put that lamp back on the stand. It’s still there. In fact, if you saw this lamp, you would never know it was once broken. I know it, but that’s irrelevant now because the glue worked and the lamp is giving light.
You may have a broken past, cracked by an uncaring father, a domineering mother, jealous siblings, perverted relatives, or a careless mate. But I want you to know that if you will bring that cracked vessel to Jesus Christ and let the Holy Spirit apply the glue of his grace, he can put your life together so that only you will know it was ever cracked. And you may even forget it was once cracked because your light is still shining. That’s what God can do. Because of him, you can also bring light to others.
My challenge to you, as one man to another and as a brother in Christ, is to not allow your past to control your walk with God in the present as you keep moving toward the future he has for you. It can happen if you will submit your past, and your present, to the lordship of Jesus Christ and live under the rule of God and his kingdom agenda for your life. When you do that, you won’t need the past as an excuse anymore. In fact, you won’t need any excuses anymore, because God will reveal the full power of his strength, redemption, and provision through you.
This post is adapted from No More Excuses: Be the Man God Made You to Be by Tony Evans.
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