Don’t Look Back
Remember the account of Lot’s wife in the book of Genesis? Lot and his family were escaping the town of Sodom when she looked back on her home town with longing (Gen. 19). As bad as it was, Sodom still represented the only life she knew.
The 2021 new year’s greetings being shared this past week have reminded me, in an indirect way, of Mrs. Lot. Not because we’re looking back with longing, but just the opposite.
Have you noticed the difference in new year’s greetings this year compared to previous years? In the past, greetings were mostly forward-facing, with wishes for health and happiness for the next twelve months.
But this year most of the greetings incorporate a qualification:
- Happy New Year! Hope it’s better than last year!
- Happy 2021! May it be an improvement over 2020!
- Thank God 2020 is over! 2021 has got to be better!
It seems 2020 has cast a long shadow over this new year—a shadow causing us to fear the future. To look ahead with one eye, while looking over our shoulder with the other. And to hesitate about sharing unqualified joyous greetings.
Stop looking back
Maybe it’s time to stop looking back. To face forward with determination instead of hesitation. Of course, we have the wisdom of Spanish philosopher George Santayana whose aphorism observes, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” But we can remember the past without keeping our focus there.
Think about how you drive your car. There’s a reason your windshield is larger than your rearview mirror. Our focus is ahead of us, not behind us.
None of us know what this new year will bring. Yes, the future is uncertain, perhaps more uncertain than ever. But if we know the God who holds the future, that’s enough to step into 2021 with courage and joy.
Are you spending more time looking in your rearview mirror or looking out your windshield? Don’t look back!