“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
I am captivated by the biblical account of Lot and his God-ordained rescue from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah found in Genesis 19. As a child, I was most interested in the behavior of Mrs. Lot and her rebellion against God’s command to not look back.
By the time I was about 10 years old, I decided that Mrs. Lot was clearly an ungrateful, rebellious woman who probably deserved to be turned to salt. From my perspective, firmly situated in my summer-camp, family-holiday good life, I judged Mrs. Lot for making the fatal error of looking back.
As I find myself in a new season in life, grieving the loss of the familiar, I’m reminded of this ancient woman’s rebellion and her long, last look at the life she was leaving behind.
Now I get it.
I get why Mrs. Lot looked back: It was familiar — and despite Sodom and Gomorrah’s spiritual darkness, I imagine there were pleasant things there, too. Perhaps you’ve been there, and can identify with Mrs. Lot?
Maybe you’re facing an unwanted season of change, and you find yourself stuck between where you’ve been and where you’re going. It seems overwhelming and devastating, and sometimes in the devastation we look back or maybe even glorify what’s been lost. We’re drawn to reminisce and hash over the past in our minds and hearts. This seems to be an age-old problem, so it’s by grand design that this important story is included in Scripture.
We know God is present-future focused, not present-past focused. He calls us in the key verse — and throughout His Word — to focus on Him, to let Him work in and through us: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19).
God wants us to allow Him to lead us out of things not meant for us, toward Him. Sometimes this is terrifying, and our human instinct is to let our thoughts rush back to the familiar, but our present-future focused God wants our attention on Him. Eyes up, heart open, moving forward in His plan.
God is not surprised with your current situation, and He’s intimately invested in every thought you have and every turn in the road you take. When we allow Him to heal us from the past, and we focus on Him and His great plan for us, He makes a way for beauty, joy and new life to flow back in.
He’s doing a new thing in you and me. Rest in the sturdy hands of our Father, listen for His voice and trust His timing. What lies behind us pales in comparison to what He has in store.
Dear heavenly Father, thank You that You are a God who stands with me right where I am. Thank You for being a present-future focused God and for reminding me today that You call me to keep my eyes on You and trust the plans You have for me. Forgive me, Lord, for looking back at a life You’ve helped me leave behind. I trust You, Jesus, and I believe in Your perfect plan for me. Please help me remember to turn all my anxieties and fears over to You and lean into Your Word and Your promises. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (NIV)
Jeremiah 29:11a, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and
not to harm you.’” (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND
Are you in a season of grief or uncertainty and find yourself longing for the familiar past? It is often in these wilderness times that God speaks most clearly to us. Take a moment to identify a special Scripture, and ask Him to settle your spirit as you wait for His guidance in your life.
How would life feel differently if you were able to keep your eyes firmly planted on God and His promises for you? Share your ideas with us!
© 2019 by Nicole Turner. All rights reserved.