Reflecting on Isaiah 43:16-21
Let’s gaze on the first reading (Isaiah 43: 16-21) for a moment. Every day we read of suicides of tormented young people who need this scripture so desperately.
Years ago I was stricken with a sudden staph infection. At noon I was going to lunch with a friend. At 3pm I was in the emergency room, screaming. Months later, after five hospitalizations, the infection was cleared. But the shock of the experience left me badly shaken.
A psychologist-friend approached me with a new treatment for PTSD. Over the course of three months she worked with me, placing small electrodes in each palm. She invited me to remember the frightening experience of being helpless and in pain. The electrode in one hand pulsed mildly.
Then she invited me to think of my safe places, my loved places, and she gave the electrode in the other hand a stronger pulse. Over time the pulse of the electrode in that palm was increased to the point that it overrode the strength of the pulse in the other palm. She forged a path in my brain―a way through the Sea, Isaiah would say―that diminished the memory of the terror and increased my peaceful spirit.
Remember not the former things, we pray for those who have witnessed school shootings and other horrors. Behold, God is doing something new. Watch, and it will spring forth.
Isaiah knew about PTSD. He was speaking to the traumatized Jews who had witnessed the burning of Jerusalem and had been taken into exile. He begged them to let God’s liberating power override their terrible memories.
The God of “something new” can heal our memories. Hold fast to this powerful scripture.
What approach have you used to stop “pondering the things of the past”?