Because I'm stuck in the 90s musically, I'm usually late to most listening parties. So by the time I've heard a song and become obsessed with it, most people have moved on to something else.
And I'm okay with that.
Such is the case with "Mercy" from Brave New World, the 2015 debut project from Bethel Music's Amanda Cook. (And see, I was going to call it an "album," but I'm trying not to date myself more than absolutely necessary.) Like most music that is new to me, I heard it one Sunday morning courtesy of our amazing worship team. At the time, I was captivated by the mood of the melody, the poignant emotions conveyed by both the vocalists and the musicians.
But as I became more deeply acquainted with this song, I was struck by an oddity in its very first line:
"My past embraced..."
I expected the line to be "My past ERASED..." and as I learned the song, I had to concentrate not to sing that lyric instead. "My past embraced" just didn't make any sense to me: when God's mercies are new every morning and He's always doing a new thing, why would we rejoice about our past being embraced? Wouldn't we want Him to just help us start over?
Well...yeah, we do. But He can only do that if He embraces our past.
See, as I meditated on this unexpected lyric, I realized I don't have to run from who I was or wish I had never been, what I did or didn't do, what they said or should never have said. I can instead place my past in God's capable hands, let Him shape it with His love and perfection, and watch it later emerge as something altogether different and meaningful.
And yes, as something new.
So as we take this lifelong faith-walk with Him, may we continually commit to releasing our past to the One who wastes nothing, the One who makes wrong things right and delights in changing us from glory to glory.
And in so doing, may we give Him the room to "make all things beautiful."