Don’t Look Back…
Today’s picture is very appropriate. Yesterday I was on a walk with Ali, our youngest daughter Gemma, and Gemma’s husband Joe. They had come for a socially distanced visit for the first time since lockdown and we were having a lovely time. There was a bit of banter going on at one point and I turned around to make a comment to Joe – the next thing I knew I was on the ground with a bloody knee and a very painful ankle.
In Luke’s gospel chapter 9 and verse 62, Jesus says, “No none who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” – of course He was talking in the context of the cost of following Him, but the practical illustration is helpful – if you are ploughing a field you need to keep looking ahead to a fixed point otherwise you will drift off line and spoil the work you are doing. That’s the same reason that pilots are taught to look to the horizon rather than the nose of the aeroplane, and why drivers are told to look ahead and not at the front of the car when driving. When we look back, or get distracted, things can and will go wrong.
We have been in lockdown for 3 months now and much of our life, and certainly our church life, is rather different than it was in March. As news of loosening comes through the temptation will be strong to look back and simply expect things to go back to what they were like before. And we can also do that in our own lives, can’t we, hankering after the “Good Old Days” or even continually beating ourselves up over things we did wrong or that were done to us years ago. None of that is actually helpful to our health, or growth, or our faith. The best thing we can do is learn from the past and then live in the present while looking forward to the future and where God might be taking us next.
It’s very important that we make sure we are looking in the direction not just of where God wants us to go, but in the direction of God Himself. As we read in Hebrews 12v1-3 – “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…consider him who endured so much opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
As we prepare for greater freedoms around meeting, may we find ourselves looking and walking in the right direction, personally and as a Church family. It might be a brave new world out there, or one that leaves us feeling anxious and concerned, but remember this – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13v8); He is, “the Alpha and the Omega, who is, who was and who is to come” (Revelation 1v8). Let’s look to Him, sense His guidance and His timing, so that as we go forward into the future He has already seen, we don’t look back, or stumble, or fall, but rather enjoy the walk!
God bless, stay well