Getting Past a Train Wreck of a Past

Is your past a train wreck? A disaster? A tragedy? Do you wonder if you are your past?

Many believe “My past controls my future. My past is always present and it will determine how high, how far, and how well I will do.”

That’s absolutely false.

train wreck
1896-Two trains smash into each other for entertainment. 40,000 people showed up to watch near West, TX, my dad’s hometown.

We know it’s false from simple observation and from the promises of God.

1. Observation
Nothing seems more common than the person with a fantastic childhood, all the education that money can buy, a giant trust fund….and a dissipated life.

You can have every benefit possible – and still be a train wreck.

Just look across the landscape that is covered with “blessed” train wrecks. The famous “Afluenza Case(link) is the most recent. Here’s a kid who had a boatload of money and parents with open pockets willing to flood him with privilege. At 16 he drunkenly killed four people and injured more and most recently fled to Mexico.

And conversely, you can have everything going against you – and still come out on top.

The only thing that seems more common than blessing leading to disaster – is the person who overcomes insurmountable odds of abuse, sadness, tragedy, and disaster, and turns out to be a fantastic success in every area of life.

Rocky is the first thought that comes to mind – but that’s just a movie. Most famous in the public eye now is Ben Carson (he’s not my candidate but I do like him). He was raised in poverty by a single mom who worked three jobs to make ends meet. And get this – his mom (who married a 28 year old at the age of 13) divorced Ben’s dad when she discovered he had another family!

Finding out that dad’s leaving because he has another family and chooses them over you should send anyone into a tailspin! If a past is going to destroy anyone’s future – that past should.

But Carson went on to Yale, and became the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins for 29 years and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008. Carson’s past was in no way indicative of his future.

You are not your past. Your past may color how others see you, you can choose to live in the past, and you can allow the past to consume you. But our culture is literally full of examples of people who have overcome their past to live tremendous lives.

2. The Promises of God

God promises that you can get past…your past.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

Actual Polaroid of Joseph from his Egypt days. JOKING! It’s Donny Osmond playing Joseph.


Joseph (Genesis 37) had a horrible past:

a. Most hated brother. His negative approval rating was at 81%. 81% of his brothers (9 out of 11) wanted to murder him.

b. Slave. He goes from most hated brother to a life of slavery.

c. Accused sex offender. The wife of his master accuses him of raping her (he’s innocent).

d. Dungeon dweller.

Now if Joseph goes along with the “my past is my future” narrative, he’s toast! He’s done for! He’s finished! He’ll waste away and die.

But Joseph had something that every single Christian has – Joseph found favor in God. That same “new mercies every morning” God. And because of that Joseph was elevated to highest position in all of Egypt. Second only to Pharaoh!

And it’s the same with you. His mercies ARE new every morning and in Christ you have found favor with God.

But what if my past is a disaster because me?

That’s easy:  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

Take heart! There is a reason for hope:

You are not your past.
Jesus is Lord of the future.
You have found favor with the God of the universe through Christ.

Your past may be a disaster, but His mercies are new for you…today.

You are blessed.

One thought on “Getting Past a Train Wreck of a Past

  1. That, is the good news! Everyday is a new opportunity to write the story of the rest of your life. As is always said, yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not owned but today is ours to shape for tomorrow. We only look back to help us navigate tomorrow better. We thank God he gives the grace and the mercies and they are new every morning.

    Liked by 1 person

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