Life in New York City is incredible and exhausting. It’s both fun and stressful at times. It’s similar to what you see on TV. Just not as glamorous. Oh, and if you have ever watched Gossip Girl you might think commuting from Manhattan to Brooklyn is a piece of cake. Mostly because Dan Humphrey magically teleports between the two boroughs. This is a lie.
Sorry I got off track there. Back to my main point: I recently have loved living in New York City. What I especially love about the city is the ability to walk almost anywhere. What can become difficult though is when traffic gets in the way of you being able to cross the street and then you can't see the crosswalk sign because a big bus is blocking it. But I have a trick. I sometimes look at the crosswalk sign that is behind my head rather than looking for the one across the street.
I do this to make sure I don’t walk too soon and get run over. Recently when I did this, I thought about how often we look back at our past to make decisions about our future. Which looking at your past is okay. We need to learn to trust that the past will not define the future. Our future is guided by the new walk of life that comes with following Jesus.
When I was thinking of who was like this in the bible, it suddenly hit me! Lot’s Wife.
To give you some context of what is happening basically, God has decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Sodom and Gomorrah were wicked cities. It was so bad that God describes it as an “outcry that has reached me.” God and Abraham discuss the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. After some back and forth Abraham negotiates that if there are at least ten people who are righteous God will not destroy the cities. God agrees and sends two angels to investigate, and they find that one man, Lot is righteous. The angels tell Lot to take his family and leave because God is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Here is where we pick up our story Genesis 19:17-26
“As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains, or you will be swept away!” But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”
He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)
By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.”
Alright, I have been doing some investigating on why Lot’s Wife would look behind her. She just safely reached Zoar. So the entire time traveling she didn’t look back, but just as she reached safety she looks back! Why? She was specifically told not to but does. Some Biblical commentaries think it is because she wished to go back to Sodom (Her sinful life). Others think it is because she didn’t believe in the destruction. Some look to how Jesus describes her in Luke 17:28-33,
“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.”
The way Jesus mentions Lot’s Wife makes commentaries think she may have looked back thinking of the possessions she left behind. Maybe she looked back because of all of these reasons. The most important takeaway is that we don’t have to look back. When we reach the end of the journey and are about to start a new one don't look back. Look forward to the Grace God gives us.
What God has done already in our lives is no comparison to the future He has for us. So don’t sweat the past because no one is holding it against you. We can often be our biggest critics, so the only person still holding onto your history is you. I have to remind myself of that sometimes. Our human nature has us store these negative thoughts of ourselves or past decisions as the defining moments of ourselves and our lives. Instead, let the defining moments be the moments of perseverance. Let the defining moments be when you give up your seat for someone on the bus. Let the defining moments in your life be when you let go of who you were and let God mold you into the person He wants you to be.
I’ll leave you with this piece of encouragement:
"Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14
Pursue the future God has for you.