In Genesis 18-19, the impending, and subsequently occurring, destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is chronicled for us. Remember Lot’s wife and the whole turning into a pillar of salt thing? Yeah, well, God is getting personal in my life this morning, and has shown me areas of my life where I’m looking back longingly- not at sin, but just at the past…
It seems that with Lot’s wife, it was the longing in her heart for the sinful things of Sodom that caused her to look back and be struck dead. The angels had warned them in Genesis 19:17~ “And it came about when they had brought them outside, that one said, ‘Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, lest you be swept away.'”
I’m not fleeing from sin or running for my life. But God still pointed out to me that I’m looking back. I’m not in danger of being struck dead, but I may stumble. Maybe it is preventing me from fully embracing the path ahead that He is leading me on.
Okay, here are some of the things that I look back at longingly:
The years spent living in Oregon. We bonded so closely as a married couple, and as a family, and it was one big adventure! We lived only an hour from the ocean…I could go on and on. But God brought us back to the Spokane area, and these years have been very good. We are blessed with a few acres and animals. And wherever God leads is the best place to be!
The years our kiddos were little. Seriously, those years were a lot of work but so fun and precious. But God gave them to us for a short while to hold and care for, and a lifetime to worry about and love! It is a blessing to watch them as they grow up and become their own unique, beautiful people. Two of the four have left the nest, and the third is not far behind. I would not trade these years for anything, but I do look back fondly…
The years before the “church thing”. I don’t necessarily want to go back. I just wish it had never happened. No bitterness or anger left, just sadness and hurt. We understand the real culprit in all of it was Satan. We miss our former church family. I miss going to church with all four kiddos. But God is bringing about healing, and He always has a reason for allowing awful things to happen in our lives. We love our new pastor, and eventually we’ll feel plugged in at the new church, too. And I know He is working on our kids’ hearts to bring about healing, and they will someday be back in fellowship, somewhere. He loves them more than I do, and He is trustworthy.
I’ll stop my confession time for now, phew! One thing I do NOT look longingly back at is my teen years. Why some people wish they could be back in high school I will never understand! Those were tumultuous years, with a roller coaster of emotions and misunderstandings. I appreciate the wisdom that comes as the years pass, and I love life as it is, now!
Living life looking back, with the “what if”s or “if only”s is a way for Satan to keep us focused on the good, the bad, and the ugly of our past. We cannot serve and follow God to our fullest ability if we keep tripping because we aren’t looking where we are going, in the present. Memories are priceless, and even the bad ones are necessary so we learn and don’t repeat mistakes, whether our own or those of others. It is okay to treasure the past, but not to long for it; or on the flip side, to live wishing it had never happened. Put it behind you. Embrace the current path you’re on, this place you’re at, right now. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6
“This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” ~Psalm 118:24