I was inspired to write this post when my husband watched a sprint race on a TV sport program. I interested saw the sprinters who always on focus straight forward without being affected by their rivals on left or right side and even on the back. They kept focus get up to the finish line as fast as they can. I wondered what if during they ran, they always look to the back. Could they keep run fast? No. They could not. Looking back while running will slow down their running speed and can even make them fall. Eventually they failed to reach a victory.
I am thinking about our life. I found some people who always failed in their life. Has much praying and prayed by many people but still failed and difficult to rise back. Their life is static in all the limitations, even in shortage. They were life in God’s way, faithful and obedient to the God’s word. Does God does not bless them? Whether the God’s promises and blessings only apply to the some people or only for the chosen people? I am very sure not like that, because God’s promise and blessing applies to all people who believe and live in Him. Then the question is what the cause is? I remembered a story of lot’s wife when the Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed by God. From this story we could know what the cause is.
Actually, Lot’s wife is in God’s saving plan. It turns out she stopped walking and looked back. Then what happened? She turned into a pillar of salt.
But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:26)
Let’s focus on looked back. What is meant with looked back is controlled by the past, haunted by traumatic things, failure or pile of sins in the past and difficult to get out from the shackles of the past that continues to haunt them. In fact there are many people who are shackled with their past. There are also so hard to release bad habits in the past. As a result, they are constantly interrupted with the past and difficult keep on moving and grow in achieving successes. Their faith also becomes difficult to grow. Salvation that has been promised by God will be gone in vain because they still look back and haunted by a dark past. Through two angels sent by God, God said,
“Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” (Genesis 19:17 NIV)
Lot’s wife still difficult to forget everything he had in the Sodom city. She still wants her old life, her property and so on. She broke the God’s message. Once again, actually Lot’s wife is in God’s saving plan but she was ambiguous between wanted to survive but on the other hand it is hard to leave all comforts of her wealth in the back. Due to continue hesitated; she could not stand to not looked back, at least for the last time. This was a very fatal choice and finally she was accepting the consequence.
If we look at the story deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, we can find a similar thing. We can see how the people of Israel at that time repeatedly protested to Moses because they felt lose situation which they consider easier and comfortable, even though they only had a status as a slave in Egypt. Let’s see what they said,
The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (Exodus 16:3 NIV)
They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” (Exodus 17:3 NIV)
They kept grumbling, complaining, nagging and strong protest against the rescue of God. They prefer to look back rather than directing foresight toward a promised land that full of God’s abundant blessings. We know the consequence that none of the early generation which made it into the Promised Land except Joshua and Caleb who have a different heart attitude.
In the New Testament, there was a story about those who wanted to follow Jesus but they chose to linger over and one of them said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” (Luke 9:61 NIV) Then what is Jesus’ answer? Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”(Luke 9:62 NIV) So obvious that People who are willing to go with Christ must be absolutely ready to leave their old life. Stop looking back. Or if not, then they are not worth before God. God desires each of us to go forward. He longs to pour out His blessings, but the shadow of the past often makes us always looking back, and thereby failed to receive the God’s promises.
Apostle Paul seemed to realize that humans have a tendency to always be in under the shadow of the past. So he needs to remind those who shackled in traumatic or bad things in the past.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)
Paul gave an example, that although he had served God, he still had to focus to forget all the past, bad as anything, and focus on the goals to be achieved in the future.
We all have a past, whatever it is. The problem is how we treat our past especially when we have had a dark past. Whether we immediately forget it and keep moving forward? Or we just shackled and continue to allow ourselves to be haunted by our dark past so we difficult to move forward and eventually we will hard to accept the beautiful God’s promises? My dear readers, this evening allow me to once again to remind all of us that we cannot move forward if our life always haunted by our past. We need to truly understand that God loves us. He does not want us to live bound in sin, problems of life and traumatic thing of the past. Honestly, personally I once had a dark past. And I always remember what my father said at the time, “it does not matter you have a dark past. Everyone has. But there are two things you have to do. Make your dark past as a valuable lesson, learn it so that henceforth you will not do over it again, and once you have learned and get something from your dark past, immediately remove it all from your mind, let it go and never look back again. The past will not destroy your future unless you let it. Your life is not just for the past. God already provides a bright future that filled with His Blessings. God provides a new hope to us who live in Christ. Let the past remains as the past. Do not make it all as a hindrance to undergo your future”
My dear readers, what about us now? Whether we are still in the shadows of the past that make us so hard to move forward? Or probably we know that a bright future awaits us, but our eyes and minds covered by the fog of the past so that it is hard to move achieve a beautiful future and hope which has been promised by God? Like whom we want to be? We want to be like a sprinter who always focuses forward, never looking back and will reach victory? Or we want to be like Lot’s wife who unwilling to let go her past, broke God’s message, choose a fatal choice, and brought her to perish? This time, allow me to encourage you to quickly get out from the shadow of our past and close the door of our past. Bury in deeply our past that may be dark and bitterly and start to look and move forward. Living in the shadow of the past will not give any benefits instead will lead us to the bitterness. We will lose of joy and new hope that has been provided by God. Stop looking back and reach beautiful God’s plan which full of peace and prosperous, living in abundance God’s blessings. Our lives probably not be better than our past, but let us remember that,
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
It’s time to let all your past go. Let’s stop looking back to the past, let’s move forward. God provides a new hope to us who live in Christ.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
We could learn from our past, take some positive things from there but after that, we have to let our past go far away from our mind. Do not let our past haunt our life and become an obstacle so we difficult to move forward for the better future. I will end this post with questions to ponder together. Where we stand now? Are we already on the future side and ready to open the door of bright opportunity to reach beautiful God’s promises? Or we still on the past side let its door remain open haunt our minds continually and we could not get anything there? Which one we will choose? The choice is yours. Amen.
Karina – Living by faith
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