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Shades of the Past

Trails of the Past
Trails of the Past
Photo credit: Elliott Brown /

My nostrils flared as I took a deep breath of the fresh air.  It was early morning.  The sun had pushed back the darkness revealing a clear sky.  I stood behind a latticework of metal that were designed to protect against possible intruders and to keep out prying eyes. The din of traffic could be heard as commuters scurried to work.  Horns blared.  Tires screeched.  It was a regular work morning.

The sky was particularly inviting for me.  How it looked was no different from other times but something pulled my attention.  I had to look up.

It was the unset of the spring season in the northern temperate climates.  For us in the tropical zone of the Caribbean it was the unset of the rainy season.  The sky gave no evidence that it would rain.  No clouds dotted the sky.  I could not help but admire the azure canopy of the sky.

Suddenly, the the tranquility of the sky was interrupted.  The roar of a jet’s engine tore through the cacophony of noises around me.  It commanded my attention.  I looked up and saw the trail of the engines exhaust behind it.  During my childhood, I always loved looking at the dissipation of the smoke left in its wake.

“This is what it is like to carry your past.”

The small still voice of the Holy Spirit interrupted my reverie.

“What do you mean?”

Then began a lesson.   

People carry around their past with them much as the engine does.  Notice there are three stages of the smoke exhaust.

Immediately behind the jet plane, the smoke exhaust paints a very vivid trail of smoke.  From a distance it looks beautiful.  The smoke is white as snow.    It paints a long streak across the sky.  However, if you should get close to the exhaust of the engine your view would change.  The stench and fumes would be unbearable.  Much of people’s past is like this.

This very visible portion is that weight of the past we carry around.  The hurt.  The pain.  The guilt.  The regrets.  The bitterness.  The turmoil.  It is all the things that make up the excess baggage of the soul.  It weighs us down.  Unfortunately, some planes only give off this trail and never take off in flight.  Those that are able to move experience the next stage.

The second stage of the exhaust begins to fade.  It becomes blurred.  That is the past when we start letting go.  It is when we have come to terms with the issues.  And have made a decision to confront it.  To examine its contribution to the present.

Deciding not to be encumbered by the past.  Is the final stage of the trail.  Here there is no sight of the trail.  The blur disappears.  The past is overcome.  It is confronted and one comes to terms with it.  All missteps are released.  He/she finds rest in Jesus.  As He wipes away every hurt, every pain, and every tear from their eyes.  He removes the burden.

To onlookers all they saw was the long trail of smog behind the engine.   They only saw the things in the individuals past.  To the liberated soul it is “all things working together for good” that pushes them into their destiny (Romans 8:28).

The trails of the past despite how murky can be used by Jesus to make an exemplary person out of each and every one of us when we surrender all to Him.  At the point of surrender, He can make all things new immediately, as we lean on Him.


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