A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
2 Peter 3:8
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
If we were to take those two verses literally, the life of Jacob and his twelve sons happened a few days ago. So with that premise I give you:
Y is for yesterday.
Yesterday, Jacob doubted. Today Jacob believes.
Yesterday, Leah was hated. Today Leah is experiencing pure love.
Yesterday, Rachel suffered. Today Rachel is experiencing true joy.
I've had the opportunity this past month to return to the south and spend the entire month taking care of my granddaughter. On my list of things to do while here was to visit some historical sights that I never made an effort to see when I lived in the south for 15 years.
So, you could say I've been visiting "yesterday" a lot.
Yesterday, when the south was neck deep in slavery and excess and war and turmoil.
What do we do about yesterday?
Yesterday Jacob was struggling with God, Joseph was sitting in a jail cell, Rachel was crying herself to sleep and Leah was longing to be loved.
We look back on yesterday because God has given us yesterday to look back upon, but he doesn't want us to stay in yesterday. Yesterday is over. We can't redo yesterday. We can only learn from yesterday.
As I visited plantations and saw evidence of our painful past, I also saw remnants of great joy and celebration. If all we glean from yesterday is pain, what is to be done with yesterday's joy?
If you struggle like me you trip over your own yesterdays a lot. They stick out like uneven pavement, tripping me up when I least expect it. I can throw my yesterdays and its pain and its joys in a box, refusing to open them, and locking them tight, throwing away the key. But when I do that, I lose out on the benefits of the lessons each want to teach me. Each wants me to learn from.
What is yesterday for if not to give us the reason to start over today? To do better than what was done yesterday; to take the next step to finding the joy in our struggles.
Yesterday matters. But only as a jumping board for making today matter more. We can lament our yesterdays, our country's yesterdays, our world's yesterdays and feel despair and discouragement. Or we can rejoice that we have today to do it better than it was done yesterday. As our fingers loosen their grip on yesterday's pain, yesterday's joys and victories will be more visible.
Jacob and his family now see fully the meaning of all their yesterdays.
It's time for us to start looking for the meaning of ours.
Y is for Yesterday.