When Are We Going Back?

32 Remember Lot’s wife. [1]

Luke 17:32


When are we going back?

 One of the greatest things I ever learned from running in track meets in grade school and high school was never to look back.  Even if you thought you were winning a race – don’t ever look back.  Looking back is disastrous in a close race, because it is virtually impossible to keep pace and balance, while maintaining focus on the finish line while looking over a shoulder.  For a hurdler, looking back, or for that matter looking to the right or left could prove both calamitous and painful.  Even when the results are not as pronounced, looking back creates drag and slows us down.  On the track, where time is measured in milliseconds, this could be the margin for a record-breaking performance or missing qualifying.

When are we going back?

Jesus warned his followers about looking back.  He even went so far as to say that anyone who aims to follow Him and is consumed with what is behind is not fit for the kingdom of GOD.  In another instance, as He warned about his return, he advised that we needn’t be concerned for any ‘thing’ that was behind.  Lot’s wife became example of ‘what not to do…’

In Genesis 19, after Abraham interceded for the deliverance of his nephew Lot and his family from the city of Sodom, GOD sent messengers to guide them safely out.  As they escaped the ruined city, they had simple instructions: ‘Don’t Look Back!’ 

17 And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. fDo not look back or stop anywhere in the gvalley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.[2] Genesis 19:17

When are we going back?

Lot’s wife, as she left the city, looked back, and the scripture says:

26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became ja pillar of salt. [3] Genesis 19:26

Jesus said, ‘Remember Lot’s wife…’

Lot’s wife, in longing to go back, became a pillar of salt!  In the middle of a desert land, she became a pillar of salt – a worthless pillar of salt!   GOD’s message to his bride, the Church is ‘Don’t Look Back!’

When we ‘look back’ and linger too long over what is behind us, we become worthless and ineffective in the present, and we place our futures in the grave.

While it is very difficult, sometimes painful, and heart wrenching to make a move beyond the past, it is imperative for our spiritual well-being that we learn how to move forward, to walk away , and resist the inclination to look back!

As painful as it is, we must orient ourselves to the present and look hopefully toward what lies ahead of us.  Looking backwards requires no faith!  Being enamored by our past, reveling in nostalgia, or sulking in past failures disables us. It is spiritually and emotionally crippling, stunting our current development, and derailing our relationships with GOD and others!

The very nature of our relationship with GOD is rooted in a faith that posits the He is the Great I AM (not the – I used to be, or I was).  Looking back only serves us well and pleases GOD when it is qualified by a faithful testimony, realized as an affirmation of our present hope, or when it becomes the substance of a prayer of thanksgiving.

The temptation to look back, to long for, or to linger in (whether in grieving or reminiscing) a past that we cannot change, wastes our ‘right now’, and undermines the faith that causes us to imagine a future that outshines the past!

When are we going back?

In this season, perhaps GOD is calling us from something and to someone?  If we are saved, is it not GOD drawing us from a past of brokenness, into a new life of wholeness!  But if our new life is to be joyful and productive – rather than asking “When are we going back?”  perhaps we might ask “Where is GOD and to whom is GOD leading us forward?

 Let’s not continue to linger and brood over the past – 2020 is one for the books for sure – but let’s get on with our lives!  God has a bright and wondrous future for us – let’s lead with this hope…

But, as it is written, l“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined,

what God has mprepared nfor those who love him”— [4] 1 Corinthians 2:9

GOD, grant us the strength and the courage to live from now on.  Help us to accept the lessons from the past and always be grateful for your tremendous grace and provision.  Beyond this LORD, give us the will to live faithfully, relying on Your awesome power for whatever lies ahead!  Help us to walk away from anything that doesn’t please you or lend itself to the spiritual, emotional, or physical health of ourselves and others!   Grant us grace to trust you and not look back!

I have decided to follow Jesus;

I have decided to follow Jesus;

I have decided to follow Jesus;

No turning back, no turning back.

[1]The Holy Bible: King James Version., electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. (Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995), Lk 17:32.

f ver. 26; [Matt. 24:16–18]

g ch. 13:10

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ge 19:17.

j Luke 17:32

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ge 19:26.

l [Isa. 64:4]

m See Matt. 25:34

n James 1:12

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Co 2:9.

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