How far back can you remember? Try to remember the time you were 3 months old. Hard, eh? I can’t remember when I was 3 years old, but that doesn’t mean I never was 3 years old. The fact that I am alive now proves that I was 3 at one time. I just can’t remember it. I can’t remember things that happened to me back then, and I can’t remember my overall attitude or “world-view”. But, it’s not important. Even if I could remember it all, I wouldn’t be spending my time dwelling on the past.
I can remember falling outside in the snow and knocking a tooth out when I was young. This was painful at the time, but because it is in the distant past, I don’t even think about it now. (Especially since it was a baby tooth that was going to fall out anyway!)
Our life right now is alot like our younger years. There’s alot of things that happen to us (and because of us) that we view as very important because it is happening right now. But when we get to heaven, almost all of the events that we thought so important are going to seem so trivial that they won’t even come to mind. Isaiah 65:17 says that the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. (See also 1 Corinthians 13:11-12)
Not that events now are unimportant. Much of what happened to me when I was 3 determined what I would be like today. If my parents did not feed me, clothe me, and take care of me, I probably wouldn’t be here. The past is important, because our future depends on our past. But we shouldn’t dwell on it because our past is just preparation for our future.
Revelation 21:4 says:
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
– Revelation 21:4 (KJV)
God will wipe away the tears from our eyes because the past will be behind us (in an entirely new way). If this is how we, who have a future eternity in heaven, shall view this life when we get there, it should help us to view it better now – to not worry about the bad and painful things that happen to us. This can be hard, because just as we have a difficult time remembering what our past was like, when we were young we had no idea what today would be like. When I was young, I felt at times adulthood was so far in the future it would never come and so I didn’t think about it. But it came anyway.
(In contrast, those whose will spend eternity in hell, who did not think about their future but thought only about the present, will spend their time dwelling on the past. What else will there be for them? To forever remember that they had a chance for salvation, but they ignored it. Whether you give it any thought or not, your eternal future is steadily approaching. Are you prepared for it?)