Recently my kids have been on this kick of riding their bicycles all over our town. Now, I am all for the exercise, but I will confess, riding bicycles on a city street with my kids who have yet to understand the word “mortal” -is a little stressful! The most frequent “instruction” I give them as we ride is, “Quit looking back at your brother/sister, keep your eyes focused in front of you!” Why is this so important? Because when they turn around to look back, they inevitably steer themselves in the wrong direction- usually towards an oncoming car!
In the Old Testament when reading the account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah the Angel of the Lord commands Lot’s family to not look back. This one verse has always jumped off of the page at me, “But his wife, from behind him, looked back; and she became a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 19:26)
With both of these verses, I have always thought the same thing, “Don’t look back because all it does is paralyze you and keep you from moving forward.” There are even numerous quotes about how important it is not not look back.
So what do these scriptures and my kids bicycle rides have in common? I’m glad you asked!
Over the past year, while writing, I have had to look back -a lot. Through looking back, I realized I still had wounds that were still bleeding. They are wounds that I have tried to hide for years. I refused to look back because of the pain they caused. You know what’s funny, even though I didn’t look back, I knew those wounds were still there. Since I never addressed them they were still bleeding causing me to become spiritually anemic. Didn’t God say in Isaiah 61 that Jesus came to “bring good news to the afflicted…and to bind up the brokenhearted.” Why would I refuse that?! I could not move on in freedom unless I went back and let Him heal the past wounds, I just had to stop ignoring them.
On Wednesday morning I was spending some time with God and I could hear Him say, “It’s time for healing. For years you have refused to look back because you only see the negative memories… you have to realize that the past was not all bad. Let me heal the pain so you can see the good. You have to stop letting the few bad memories blind you to the numerous great memories you have of what I have done in your life.”
Isn’t it funny how in some parts of the Bible we are instructed to not look back and then we are also told to look back and remember. In Isaiah 43 God said “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder on things of the past. Behold, I will do something new…” I believe that God doesn’t want us to let our pain define our lives but there are times when it is beneficial to look back so we can be healed and reminded of His goodness and that He is all about making things new.
We all have a history. Let God heal what needs to be healed and then refocus your vision so that you can see the good days. I will even go as far as to say, there are probably more good days then there were bad. Please hear me, I know some of you have a lot of painful memories, but could you sit and let God remind you of the good memories? I know they are there.
Satan’s plan is to make us loose sight of the good days. Because when we loose sight of the good days, we forget how good God really is. We forget that God was there through every memory, even the bad memories, He didn’t forget us and He want’s to heal those memories.
The truth is, no my kids don’t need to keep their focus on looking backwards while riding their bikes, but it is important for them to look back every now and then and make sure there is not a car behind them. Not only does that teach them how to become defensive riders but in their looking back they always see something beautiful to their little eyes, things they would have missed if they didn’t look back.
I believe that when we reminisce about the good we will be reminded of God’s faithfulness and His goodness! When that happens -thank Him for that memory! Don’t let the enemy rob you of the joy of recounting God’s goodness!