Isn’t it funny how when the Lord is trying to teach you something, it seems to come at you from all directions…..in a book, in a scripture verse, in a song, in a conversation? Well, that’s what has been happening with me lately. It seems like almost daily, I’m hearing this one thing every where I turn.
So, I decided it was time for me to sit down and really listen to what God was trying to tell me. I feel like God has been shouting to me, “Don’t look back!” To be honest, that’s not something I really wanted to hear. But as I sat down and began searching out what God was saying, I realized that what He was really telling me was, “Don’t look back, but don’t forget.” As I prayed and studied and listened, it started to become clearer and make more sense to me. I realized that “looking back” can be dangerous, but it can also be beneficial. It can be a curse, but it can also be a blessing.
Looking back can be a curse because it can lead to sadness and depression. If I am so caught up in the “woe is me” syndrome, then I can’t see beyond myself to serve others. Like Jesus, I am called to be a servant. In Mark 9:35, Jesus says, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” That doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to grieve…I will always grieve. Half of me was stripped away, how can I not grieve?? But if I let grief consume my life, then I can’t be a servant; therefore, looking back would be a curse.
Looking back can be a curse because it can block my view of the future. If I am always absorbed in the past, I will have no goals, no hope, no excitement for the future. I will not be able to trust or believe God’s word when He says, “I have it all planned out–plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (Jer. 29:11)
Looking back can be a curse because it can keep me from fully engaging the present. I have to make the decision to not let the past steal my present. Continually looking back can cause me to miss what God wants to do in my here and now. Is 43:18-19 says, “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” What a curse it would be to miss out on that!
Looking back can be a curse if I live in the world of “whys” and “what ifs.” This world can quickly lead to the sins of anger and bitterness. These sins could easily entangle me and hinder me from running the race that has been marked out for me. (Heb 12:1) I don’t want that to be true of me. I want to run the race with perseverance and finish strong.
Looking back can be a curse if I spend so much time focusing on what I have lost, that I can’t see what I do have. Ecc. 7:10,14 says, “Don’t always be asking, ‘Where are the good old days?’ Wise folks don’t ask questions like that. When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.” Regardless of what I may have lost, I still have SO much and I never want to be seen by my Father as a child with an ungrateful heart.
But…looking back is not the same as forgetting. Although looking back can be a curse, it can also be a blessing!
Looking back can be a blessing because it reminds me of what a great man Greg was, and how blessed I was to have had him in my life. A blessing to remember all that he taught me and how his love for me truly exemplified how Christ loves the church. Looking back can be a blessing for my girls as they had a great role model of what they want in a husband. And a blessing for my son to know what character qualities he wants to have in his life as a husband and a father. And remembering how he demonstrated not only his love for his family, but also for his Lord as he lived his day-to-day life, and especially as he walked the path of suffering.
Looking back can be a blessing as I remember God’s faithfulness to us as we traveled a difficult road. He promised He would always be with us (Matt.28:20), and He was. He promised us peace (John 14:27), and He gave it. He was faithful then, He will be faithful now.
Looking back can be a blessing as I remember how the Lord has comforted me, so that I in turn may be a comfort to others. “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” (2 Cor 1:4)
Looking back can be a blessing because He tells me to ponder and dwell on and not forget His blessings towards me. If I don’t look back, I might forget. “Once again I’ll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts.” Ps 77:11-12 “O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless His holy name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing!” Ps 103:1-2
Looking back can be a blessing because not only does God tell me to remember His blessings toward me, He also instructs me to tell the world what He has done. “So thank God for His marvelous love, for His miracle mercy to the children He loves; Offer thanksgiving sacrifices, tell the world what He’s done–sing it out!” (Ps 107:21-22)
I know that I will forever look back, but my prayer is that my looking back will cause blessings in my life and the lives of others, and not curses! And as I look forward, my prayer is that I will give my heart permission to beat again.
Trusting His Plan,