A lot of people get stuck in such a dark past that they can’t move forward. That can be an extremely difficult place to be. A few years ago I talked with a young man who had faced so many negative things and got so bitter after he witnessed family members dying that he had suicidal tendencies. He felt as though he couldn’t live with what had happened. “But one day,” he said, “I began to cry out to Almighty God to help me move past the darkness and all the bitterness and to take hold of a great future. I started to imagine myself shutting the door to the darkness and running toward my future. As I reached out and pressed forward, I was able to accomplish things I never dreamed were possible.” He found his way through a tragic past and went on to medical school and now runs a large clinic of his own.
Here’s what I’ve learned. You cannot move forward if you’re looking backward. You cannot undo your past, but you can do something about your present and future. You have to do what the apostle Paul did: “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13–14). He was saying, “The most important thing that has helped me to be successful is to let go of the things that are behind me. I don’t look back. I don’t go back to my past mistakes and relive my failures.”
The Bible says that God will take what the enemy meant for evil in your past and turn it around and use it to your advantage. God has a plan for your past, but He can’t work in your past because He works in the now. If there’s anything from your past that’s keeping you from your dreams, call out to God as this young man did and ask Him to help you move past it. David said, “In my distress I called upon the Lord…and my cry came before Him, even to His ears…. He brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me” (Psalm 18:6, 19). He will bring you into a broad place because He delights in you!
I encourage you to not allow the dark places in your past to hold you back today. Let the past be behind you. Don’t look back for someone to blame or ask why something happened to you. Reach forward to that broad place that is ahead of you. That’s where your destiny lies.