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Forget what happened long ago! Don’t think about the past. I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it? I have put roads in deserts and streams in thirsty lands. I provide water in deserts—streams in thirsty lands for my chosen people (Isa. 43:18–20).

Memory is both a blessing and a curse.

Have you ever wondered how you are able to remember people’s names, dates, and places? We remember and recognise many different kinds of information quickly. However, like most human abilities, remembrance is both a blessing and a curse. Many events in our lives are difficult to forget because of our memory. 

We may forget painful events for a while, but it only takes the next trigger event or a random stream of consciousness to bring them back to our memory to haunt us.

It’s just as important to forget as it is to remember.

Remembering is critical. It provides clarity, coherence, and sanity to our daily lives. Fortunately, we don’t remember everything. The ability to forget is as important to us as the ability to remember. 

However, some memories stick with you even when you don’t think about them. They bring back the pain, guilt, and hurt associated with the experience; worse, they force us to relive those moments. Pain shrinks us on the inside, and as we writhe in agonising pain, we mentally replay the painful events. 

How we wish we could forget the painful memories! Who or what can help us overcome the painful memories that continue to haunt us? Who or what has the power to heal the hurt and pain?

The God of Impossibilities

Biblical narratives show how God brings hope to those suffering from disappointment, despair, and defeat. Isaiah 43:18–20 is another example of God speaking HOPE to his people while they are in exile—a seemingly hopeless situation.

These are not empty words. God has the power to make all things new. The desert wastelands that surround them are not a problem for him. He is the God of impossibilities. 

He can make a “road” in the wastelands and “streams” in the desert. It is “Him-possible,” so they can take him at his Word.

The Road ahead

The key, then, is to “forget”. But, it is not easy. What do you do when you are trapped in a self-perpetuating downward cycle of guilt and self-pity? Re-living the experience makes it all the more difficult to forget.  

Moving on may seem extremely difficult. But learning to forgive, forget the past, and allow healing to flow through the invisible hurts and scars is extremely beneficial. 

God has endowed us with the ability to forget and the strength to forgive. It is not only the first step but also the right step toward the “newness” that God invites us to enter.

Something Beautiful. Something New.

God tells his people in Exile to look forward to a new future and, more importantly, to do so against all odds. He will make a way through the desert. God invites his people to see the “road” ahead and the “streams” in the desert through the eyes of faith,

Likewise, God can create a new beginning to redeem us from our loss. He can make something “new” and “beautiful”; you only need a little faith to see it.

God invites us to rejoice in the “newness” he brings into our lives and to respond by singing “new” praises. God will provide new “pathways” and “streams” to help us move forward. We don’t have to cringe and cry for the rest of our lives.


God is up to something new. His presence will help us move forward. He will refresh us through this journey. The key is to forget the past, remember God’s providence, look ahead, and keep going.

Samuel Thambusamy is a PhD candidate with the Oxford Center for Religion and Public Life.