"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 3:13-14
I saw the strangest thing on the highway the other night and I can't get it out of my head.
I was driving southbound and headed northbound was a man walking in the small breakdown lane. There's a guardrail with a tall fence on one side and speeding traffic a foot away on the other side of him. What makes it strange was he was walking backwards. Facing the traffic and walking backwards.
I didn't see a broken down car anywhere. The next exit wasn't that far from the direction he was travelling from. He simply was getting from Point A to Point B via the highway.
Why was he walking backwards? I can only imagine he was afraid he was going to get hit and wanted to keep a look out on the passing vehicles.
It's the second time this week Philippians 3:13-14 popped into my head.
During the worship at church this week, all of a sudden a realization washed over me. It was quick and fleeting but for a brief moment I held the ideals of this scripture in my heart. For a moment I finally understood. In a flash I saw what it finally meant to forget the things in the past and focus on what lies ahead.
It was an understanding of eternal glory. It was realizing that this life is hard. Really hard. But the next life isn't. I get to spend eternity in my Saviors home. So I need to focus on that. I need to remember that I am here to serve others and to leave the lasting impression He intends for me to leave. Whether that is with one person or many, I'm not sure. But this is what we are all called to do as believers and in this quick moment I saw how glorious that was. In this moment I sensed peace in knowing that this too shall pass.
I realize this might sound morbid or depressing to some. To focus on the next life. But I've had only brief moments of pure happiness in this life. It's all been fleeting and right now in the season that I'm in, I just need to know there's something better than this place. There's something better than fights with friends, wars between countries, little boys with cancer and plane crashes. I realize I can only press on through if I am looking ahead.
When I first saw the man walking on the highway I thought to myself, I don't blame him, I would have done the same thing. I'd rather see it coming. I'd rather brace myself for the impact and have a chance to pray at the last second for a way to jump out of the way of the inevitable.
I've been this man. I've been looking back, staring in the past, waiting for the moment that comes right at me and completely takes me out. I've been bracing myself for the ultimate blow. I've been waiting for the word, or lack thereof, that says it's over.
But the more I thought about it, the more I don't want to see it coming. If I was going to get hit by a Mack Truck on the highway, I'd rather not know. If I was going to die driving home from work tonight, I'd rather not know. I can't find out today how many years of my life are left. Because no matter if it's 1 or 50 both would leave me frantically looking at the calendar counting down the days. The minutes in between now and then would be compromised with fear. The fear would steal what's left of my time on this earth. That's not life.
So if my past is going to steamroll me, I don't want to see it coming. It's why pages and people were blocked online. Not because I'm looking for it, but because I'm so deathly afraid of what I'll see. I don't know where this fear came from. Perhaps it's because, like this man on the highway, I'm between a rock and a hard place. There's no where for me to go and I'm staring at my biggest fear head first, holding my breath and bracing for the final blow.
But if you face God, if you face forward to the river with your enemy closing in behind you, and you trust, He will part the seas for you. He will give safe passage. If the Israelites were too busy staring at the enemy coming from behind to attack they would have missed that the Red Sea had been parted for them. They could escape. If they missed that, they miss the mercy of God, His saving grace. They would miss life and years of miracles to come. They would miss firsthand the power of their God.
I don't want to miss that.
So I press on. I don't want to count the calendar days between now and the unknown. Not for good things or bad. I don't want to lose sight of the moments that are here now. The places that God is opening up for me. The way in the desert. The streams in the wasteland. I don't want to miss what He's doing because I'm fearing for what might not come to be. Fear is Satan. I can't let him win. No way. No how.
And the Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward." - Exodus 14:15
Sometimes the only way to get from Point A to Point B is a narrow path. Sometimes it looks like we won't make it out alive. But just when we are ready to lose this life to the next one He parts the seas and shows us another way. Just as the Lord told Moses. Tell the children to go forward. Stop walking backwards at oncoming traffic and trust that He's going to protect us. Trust that He has another way that we cannot see. If we do that, we gain life. We gain God's mercy and His saving grace. We gain a lifetime of miracles.
Photo Credit: Journey of the Heart, I found this page searching for a photo, the poetry that went with this seems to coincide so perfectly with this post, so head over and check it out.