“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
ISAIAH 43:18, 19 NIV
In 1952 my father decided to leave Chile to come to the United States to pursue a college education. He traveled by boat up to the Pacific coast of South America, making stops in Lima and Panama City. He crossed the Panama Canal and steamed on toward Cuba. The last stops before arriving in Miami, his final destination. His stop in Cuba turned out to last longer than he thought-by several years. He ended up attending the Adventist College in Cuba, Antillean College, which later moved to Puerto Rico because of the Cuban Revolution. There he met my mother and eventually got married and found a job.
During the mid 1950, my parents were working in Cuba while a rebel army fought to bring down the Cuban government. In 1958, the rebels marched into Havana, and the war was over. Unfortunately, three years later the revolution made changes that cause the college to be shut down. The buildings were locked up, and the college campus remained abandoned for decades. I 1999, almost forty years later, I visited the campus for the first time. All my life I had heard stories about this place where my parents had met and studied, but the place was now a ghost town. The buildings were overgrown with bushes and trees, windows were broken, the walls were black with dirt, and some buildings were falling down. My heart was broken seeing it like that.
Bad things happen, but humans were not created to dwell on the past and continually suffer for bad things that happened. God says in our verse today that
He has wonderful plants for your future, not your past. You won’t heal until you are able to forget the past and live in the present and look to the future-keeping God close at all times.