Old Haunts

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 2:11 PM

This week I walked to the 12th floor of Children’s Hospital in the ICU waiting room. I stood there a year earlier while my daughter Gracie unknown to me fought for her life and a gifted doctor took care of an emergency situation during surgery. While I stood there I had a funny feeling, I didn’t really like it.

I walked 100 yards from the room where I handed my 6 month old girl off to a nurse I did not know for that surgery. As she walked away to this minute I will never forget her big blue eyes staring back at me not knowing what was about to take place. I will never forget it. This week as I walked by that room I had an uncomfortable feeling, I didn’t really like it.

I stood in an Intensive Care Unit not far from where I visited my daughter after surgery. There she had tubes and wires all over and around her, and though they were needed it was a site I really can’t forget and never really wanted to see. As I stood there this week my mind drifted back to a year earlier, I had a funny feeling in my gut, I didn’t really like it.

Even the parking lot where I parked was a reminder to the time spent in the hospital. Of walking back and forth with little ones taking care of business outside the hospital while Gracie recovered, yes even the parking lot gave me a funny feeling and I didn’t really like it.

Though the memory is still fresh and the experience overall was great with Gracie’s quick recovery and wonderful care, the uncomfortable memories are still there, I guess they always will be. Old haunts are that way; they never seem to totally go away.

My guess is you have some old haunts that never seem to go away as well. Perhaps the final days of divorce, maybe you can remember exactly where you were when it was final. Maybe it was a house where you received verbal abuse on a daily bases. You drive by or see it and the old haunt just reappears.

Perhaps yours is a hospital but with a much less pleasant experience than I had. Maybe it was there that you received the news of someone you loves death or critical illness. You go by that place and your mind drifts back.

Maybe yours is a school where you experienced failure often or where you were left as one of the unpopular people. Your heart still aches from the rejection. You see the yearbook or someone from that time and the old haunt reappears. Perhaps there is a place in your mind where sin took place. You did things you believe are horrible now, each time you pass that place it is a constant reminder of a tragic time in your life.

When I think of the word ‘haunt’ I think of dark scary places. Like a dark hall to a young child. Old haunts what are we to do with them? How are we to get past them?

On our own old haunts will do just what the word says, it will haunt us forever never letting us have total peace. The evil one lives for old haunts, he desires for you to have a long memory of times and places when things were not good. He desires to control your thoughts so that you never forgive yourself for the past or never put the old haunts out of your mind. By doing this he controls the mind and wins the battle.

What are we to do with old haunts? Give them to the Prince of Peace. Christ came that you might have life and have it to the fullest. (John 10:10) That is in direct contrast to the evil one who came to kill, steal and destroy. (John 10:10)

God does not desire for old haunts to control your life. He desires to give you rest and peace from those scary times. Perhaps you never will forget it, but He can help fade it and replace it with places of light and goodness. I believe replacement is God’s greatest gift to those who have been in dark places and who among us has not been too old haunts at least once.

God can even use your old haunts to help you and allow you to help others. He can help you overcome to the point where you can help others who are living in your old haunts. (be careful about quick returns to old haunts)

Why do I go back to a hospital with such a rush of memories? Because people I love are there and there I can help with prayer and signs of love. There I can gather a fresh sense of perspective as I see others in far worse situations than me. There I can stop for a moment and thank God I am only visiting. What an unbelievable God that can even use ‘old haunts’.

The only way to beat an old haunt is to call on a power that is greater than the “haunt”, call on God. The good news about God is that he is like an old haunt in one respect, He never goes away!

Scripture: John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, help each of us as we deal with the past hurts of our lives. Help us to forgive ourselves as you do and to forgive others as you do. Guard our hearts and our minds, help them to stay in the right place and give us peace. Help to keep a focus on Godly things letting go of things we can do nothing about, help us to leave justice and mercy in your hands. We ask these things in the name of Christ, Amen.

all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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