Note: Bob Stewart has been writing The Shepherd's Heart for nearly 20 years. From time to time, we publish some of the older "classics" from throughout the years.
I'm sure we all have them ... Those shoeboxes and albums full of photos from the past.
Some are wonderful memories reminders of time spent with loved one. Some are merely postcards from the roads we've traveled. Some are special to us and us alone for reasons which will remain unknown to anyone but us.
Our family albums are filled with pictures of the children, each child having his or her own album, of course. There also are pictures of mission trips to Mexico and Russia and family vacation to several points west of the Mississippi River. We have photos of family reunions and gatherings at funerals and family what-have-yous; pictures of friends from years past and acquaintances from the distant past.
Yes. We have lots of pictures. And they all have one thing in common: they show us our past.
Have you ever noticed that about photographs? I might not have paid attention to that fact had it not been for an incident I witnessed when our son was three years old.
Jordan was sitting on the floor having quite a bit of fun rummaging through an old orange show box filled with photos. This had become one of his favorite pastimes, and it kept him busy so dad could get some work done while his mother and sisters were at school.
On this particular day Jordan was having a great time telling me who was in each picture (even if he didn't have a clue). He was, however, becoming quite accomplished at pointing out images of his three big sisters.
"Here's Amy when she was a baby. Here's Amy when she was big." ... And so on.
Suddenly, he turned to me with a puzzled look on his usually radiant face and, holding a picture of himself asked, "Here is me when I was a baby, but where's me when I'm big?"
That's when it hit me. We -- none of us -- have snapshots of us "when we're big." The only thing we have photos of is who we were.
Wouldn't it be nice to have pictures of what we are going to be in the future? Then we could at least try to make any needed adjustments.
But, as they say, that's life.
Many people around us see only the past, as well. They say things like "I remember when you were this or that ..." or "Weren't we all crazy back then?"
Our families even, sometimes speaking prophetically as it were, not knowing who or what someone might become, say things like "He'll never amount to a hill of beans."
The enemies of hope like to remind us of things we may have done in the past that were not always the best choices.
However, scriptures tell us that we have the opportunity to become new creatures; that all things can be made new; that the past can completely be done away with. In fact, the scriptures are full of snapshots of whom and what we can become.
I might not be able to show my son a picture of him "when he is big." But I can show him a snapshot of what he can become.
And that's good news.