If you’re a regular on this site, you know that my daughter Virginia just graduated from the University of Virginia, where I like to think that she sometimes studied. She starts her “real job” in New York City next month, but in the meantime, knowing that I am writing like a crazy person to meet the publisher’s deadline for Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children, she offered to write a few blogs on my behalf. This one hit home. Pray for me, cuz I don’t really love the thought of all my kids growing up, and I’m having a hard time not looking back.
Here’s Virginia (and yes, that’s her in the pic):
NeedToBreathe has a song called “Won’t Turn Back” where they sing about having faith like a soldier and the strength to stay put in hard circumstances. It is a great song to encourage you when you know you face an upcoming battle or mountain, but what about in the day-to-day life?
Having just graduated from the best school in the world, I constantly find myself looking backwards. It is so easy to get lost in a daydream about spending the afternoons at vineyards or waking up with my six best friends in the same house every morning, all of them up for any adventure. But here’s the thing about looking back: When I spend excess time thinking about Charlottesville, I constantly miss what is happening right in front of me. I miss what God is doing now.
There is a story in the Bible where Moses delivers the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. But as soon as they are out, they miss it and want to go back. They miss the food, water, and life of the past, even though they were slaves. To appease and bless them, God sends bread called “manna” out of the sky for them to eat. God provides them with endless manna, meat, and clean water. He gives them more than they could ever ask for on their journey to freedom. But instead of being grateful and satisfied, the Israelites keep complaining. Every little bump in the road causes them to look back and, as a result, they miss the blessings that are right in front of them.
Transitions are constant in life. Whether it is an old school, an old job, an old city or just an old life in general, we all have things we miss. And like the ancient Israelites, we can sometimes idealize whatever we left behind and long to return to our old “easy” way of life.
But we do not have time for that. I’d pray that God would help us to not dwell on the past but rather, to look toward the future with hope and excitement, praising him for what he is doing in the present. With eyes in the front of our heads, humans are designed to look forwards, not backwards.
There is the manna of God’s provision everywhere in our lives; we just have to face forward to see it.
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 desert and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-19)