Poem

Let Go the Past

Michael Beck Michael Beck

What could have been, I wonder so
A past not lived is hard to know
Can I be sure I’d better be
If I had done things differently?
Perhaps indeed, without a doubt
I might have missed a better route
But where that way was headed toward
And all that would have been in store
I cannot say, it isn’t clear
I only know what now is here

And when today I look around
At life I’ve made and start to frown
It’s easy to begin to think
And kick myself and make a link
Between the present that seems bad
And such a life I could have had
I sigh for days beneath blue skies
“If only I had been more wise!”
But can I change by taking thought
The past that’s gone, the life uncaught?

As I can’t look ahead of me
And know the future that will be
I cannot know what would have been
But only can add sin to sin
If in such mourning for my loss
I let the devil turn and toss
My mind in thoughts that lead to pain
That peace deprive and torment gain
What will I do but take away
The strength I need to live today

So this I must accept as true
The past I never can undo
And only where God lets me know
With gentle voice and softened blow
I missed His turn and went my way
I’ll listen up, He’ll have His say
His rod and staff will comfort me
And give me peace that if I’ll be
Right now surrendered to His will
In path of right He’ll lead me still

And even all that’s gone before
That’s brought me to this present shore
Can be redeemed by wondrous hand
And woven in to master plan
By God who tells me to forget
The things behind that cause regret
And look ahead to future bright
That will be mine if I do right
Upheld by truth that comes from Him
Resisting lies I once took in

With hope that I can yet be blessed
With present that need not be less
For even now God still makes good
From wreckage past that devils would
Pick up and use to beat my face
As they deny this God of grace
Who yet will put me on display
To souls forlorn, to those dismayed
Who also think their lives are sunk
He’ll send me to, such lies debunk

And this I’ll say with hopeful cheer:
“Let go the past, let God now steer
From where you’ve been, He now can take
The pieces by which He’ll remake
A vessel that need not be beached
But can set off to hopes unreached.”
And as today I too sail forth
With smiling heart to heavens’ port
I leave with God that murky shore
What could have been? I care no more.


Michael Beck is a pastor in New York City and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.