Bring Us Back

“Bring us back . . .”

“Lord, you have been merciful to your land; you have made Israel prosperous again.

You have forgiven your people’s sins and pardoned all their wrongs.

You stopped being angry with them and held back your furious rage.

Bring us back, O God our savior, and stop being displeased with us!” (Psalm 85:1-4)

I really like this photo.  We were playing with some left-over sparklers and I decided to try some photos with long shutter exposures.  The camera shutter stayed open while the sparkler holder moved the sparkler in a circle.  I particularly like the photo because it not only shows where the light is, but also shows where the light has been.  That idea got me to wondering.

We often hear it said, “Learn to live in the moment.”  I know that’s sometimes an effort to help us get untied from guilt, shame, and anxiety so we can put one petrified foot in front of the other.  It’s important that we can focus on a current task so we can move into the future.  However, sometimes remembering serves another purpose.  Rather than freezing and incapacitating us, it can empower us.

In Psalm 85 it seems the speaker is rehearsing the past, reminding God of all the times before when God had been forgiving of God’s people.  Because of that past grace, the speaker could confidently inquire of God when the current need for forgiveness would be fulfilled.  This is empowering, remembering past mistakes and God’s forgiveness in such a way as to empower the individual with confidence for the future.  This speaks to the true nature of God’s grace, a forgiveness that doesn’t require that we forget our past mistakes in order to move forward, but rather, a forgiveness that allows us to remember and learn from our mistakes so we can confidently move forward.

We are never simply creatures of the moment.  We are always, in every moment, creatures of the past, present, and future all at once.  Wow, that’s pretty mysterious!  That’s another expression of God’s amazing grace.  I pray that God will always help me live into God’s wondrous mystery.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,


Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”


~ by revgenelson on August 3, 2016.

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