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Looking Back?



"Remember Lot’s wife! "  -  Luke 17:32

This is one of the shortest verses in the Bible.  Jesus was talking about the terrible circumstances that will be present when he comes back.  He was warning people that they would not see it coming.  People will be going about their business and then suddenly, without warning, chaos will take over.  People will need to flee, and he warns them not to go back for their possessions, for anything.  This is where he says "Remember Lot's wife!".  In desperation he pleads with them to remember the fate of this woman.  To his listeners it would bring to mind the story of Lot and his family fleeing the destruction of Sodom.  They too were warned not to go back for anything, not to even look back, but Lot's wife did look back.  And when she did, she turned into a pillar of salt.  

Metaphorically speaking this is often what happens when we look back.  We get frozen in place and we cease moving forward.  I have a childhood friend that lives here in Indianapolis.  I didn't know he lived here when I moved here, but we discovered that we were in the same town again through Facebook.  We have met several times.  We reminisce about how things were when we were younger, but all that looking back gets in the way of moving forward.  Our friendship has not really rekindled, he almost feels like a stranger.  We are frozen in place.

Don't get me wrong, looking back has it's place, and the Bible even tells us to do it. 

"Remember the wonders God has done, miracles, and judgments pronounced." - 1 Chronicles 16:12

Over and over the scriptures tell us to remember and to memorialize things and events.  There is an important difference though.  There are two kinds of looking back.  One type of looking back focuses on "wanting" and one focuses on "praising".  When we look back with a grateful heart we are energized, but when we look back with a longing heart we can become paralyzed and stop moving forward.  When you find yourself looking back, you can ask yourself if you are being energized, or getting stuck.  

It's worth noting that a third type of looking back is processing.  This is important work, but it is not energizing.  It is difficult and draining.  This type of looking back is not often the sort of looking back we do during the New Year though, so I have not addressed it in this devotional.  

As we approach the New Year and you look back, what type of looking back are you doing?

God, help us to look back with praises and thanksgiving.  Bring to mind the wonders you have done before us and for us.  If we find ourselves stuck, wanting something from the past, help us to break free and come to life again.  Help us to move forward.  This New Year, if we find ourselves processing the difficult things, be with us, and bring us peace.  Amen.

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