On Thursdays, I lead a small group at our church. I try to start each week with a short devotion and a word of prayer. Sometimes, I read from a book. Other times, I write one. Last week, I wrote a new one, and I thought I’d share it with y’all. I pray it touches your hearts.
When my youngest son was about 3–he’s 18 now—we were walking down the hall away from his “Sunday school” room, aka nursery. He was holding my hand and we were moving forward, but he was looking backward over his shoulder. There were a lot of people walking in the hallway and I didn’t want him to bump into anyone. I told him, “Stop looking backward. You’re not going that way.”
It may have been the most profound thing I’ve ever said, and remembered.
I’ve seen this saying on quote sites in the last few years, but I’m going to claim it as my own, at least here. I was right—not only for him, but for everyone.
I heard a story once that when farmers are plowing or harvesting a field on a tractor—or behind a pair of oxen—they have to keep their eyes at a point on the horizon in front of them, so they can steer in a straight line. If they continuously look behind them, at what they’ve done, their furrows won’t be straight.
Have you ever seen someone who’s blindfolded try to walk in a straight line? We used to watch Mythbusters a lot, and they did an experiment with their team. Several of them tried to walk in a straight line with a blindfold on. They were ALL off by several degrees after a few steps, and one or two nearly went in a complete circle, thinking the whole time they were going straight.
We all have had periods in our lives that we do more than take a cursory glance over our shoulder at our past or what has come before. We either turn fully around and stare at the past, or we try to continue forward with our head turned to see behind us. But if we’re not focused on a specific point in the future—Jesus—our way can get a little wonky.
The words of Paul come to mind from Philippians 3:13-14, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it (righteousness) my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind (in Paul’s case, he’s talking about all the things he gave up for Jesus—basically, everything he knew and had strived for) and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Let’s all press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. It’s not going to look the same for any of us. We may walk together or our roads may eventually diverge until we meet again in heaven. We’re all going the same direction if we’re Christians, but the roads we walk are different, with different mountains and valleys, different pot holes and obstacles. If we keep our eyes on the prize, we’ll reconnect in the end.
Father, I thank you for each of these ladies. They are a joy to my heart, and I thank you that we can walk this part of our roads together. Help us to keep our focus on you and only give our pasts cursory glances every now and again to remind us how far You’ve brought us from where we once were without you. We love you, God, and, even though we struggle at times, our goal is to be with you in the end. Guide and protect our steps along the way. Amen.
PS. The wedding was beautiful. I was a teary-eyed momma for a bit of it. Pictures to come at a later date.