Written by Kat Hlongwane
Stop dwelling on past events and brooding over times gone by; I am doing something new;
it’s springing up — can’t you see it? I am making a road in the desert, rivers in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43: 18-19
I am more like the Children of Israel fresh out of Egypt than like the apostles walking out my faith in fear and reverence. Although I have seen the miracles of YHWH in my life, I am not fully walking it out. I have seen him use my hands to heal, my voice to deliver the gospel.
I have experienced deliverance and the breaking of the enemy’s yoke over my life. But every now and again, I get stuck in nostalgia. I journey back into bondage and romanticize over a bad relationship, sometimes I remember the smells of cigarettes and cheap booze. And then I hear that music of old, those jazzy beats in bars and cafes. I can almost find myself there again and I smile…
Can you recall the many times in Exodus when YHWH told Moses to tell Pharaoh to “Let My people go so that they may serve Me” – imagine that declaration and the events that followed for YHWH to ensure the release of His children? Only to have the children reminiscence over the fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic in Numbers 11:5. They were reminiscing about food, something that satisfies the flesh. They literally turned and looked back, and the only thing that they could remember about SLAVERY was the food? It’s so easy to judge them, to want to rebuke them for not seeing the great work that YHWH had started for them, which He promised to see to completion. I was reminded of myself, brooding in nostalgia, and paralyzed to do any work for His Kingdom, because my life was good a year ago. I almost forget the way that the Father picked me out of a dark pit, breathed his Spirit into me and told me to follow him.
YHWH wanted me to write about nostalgia, he wanted me to see how it dishonored Him and rendered me useless for His Kingdom.
The word nostalgia stems from the Greek language and is loosely translated as a severe homesickness and in the early days of the word’s formation, it was considered a disease, a pain or distress, that made the person want to escape or return to a safe place like home. When looking at this definition, the word is not such a bad idea when referring it to YHWH and wanting to return to him, to his presence, to where we once belonged in his garden. Nostalgia does become an issue when it is experienced in reference to a time when we were under the hand of the enemy. Nostalgia is subjective and makes us forget the reasons why we sought the Lord in the first place and begged him to hear us. Nostalgia selects all the memories that satisfy our flesh or made life seem easy and it places those memories between Yeshua and us, we fail to see the promises, we lose sight of the cross and the manna that is freely given to us becomes a burden.
We usually experience nostalgia when we are going through a hard time, sometimes during times of introspection, we journey back to the past and find the things that made that time happy. We get stuck in it, we get stuck in the past, using it as a distraction to avoid the sanctification process – although hard, but necessary. The enemy uses the cucumbers and melons to distract us from the work that YHWH is doing. I am not saying looking back, and remembering a different time is wrong, I am saying that dwelling on it and using it as a way to compare this period you are in is wrong. The feelings that are created in those moments can often leave us sorrowful and questioning our walk with Christ. The danger is that we are literally comparing a life in bondage to one of freedom and salvation.
Father wanted me to write about nostalgia because many of us are experiencing it now or will experience it soon. Because this season is coming to an end, we are moving into a new season, which is marked by the Passover that is already here. He wants us to break off the yoke of the enemy, and take on the yoke of Yeshua, he wants us to stand at the edge of the desert and prepare ourselves for the journey into the wilderness (refinement and sanctification). He wants us to look straight ahead at Him, our cloud by day and column of fire by night. He is calling us to walk in the fullness of Yeshua, forsaking comfort and luxuries that renders us useless for the Kingdom. He set you free so that you can serve him and while we do that Yeshua is preparing the true home for us.
So when the nostalgia creeps in, speak His word to the memories and do not lose sight of Him.