I love history. That wasn’t always the case. My History teacher at school had an amazing ability to send everyone into noddy land. No adventure or fun, just boring facts… but that’s now history too!
My interest peaked when I travelled to England at aged 13 and walked through places that were built 1000‘s of years ago. Old cobble stoned paths, the sword and armor of King Henry VIII, tombs and graves of famous people who forged our society, a Roman battlefield being excavated, stone walls on the Moors, and castles.
The biggest impact were the grooves worn into solid stone walls in a Castle dungeon caused by the swinging steel shackles that chained the prisoners. No Hollywood set, no make believe… this was real! Real grooves, real people hung here. How horrific to have been a chained prisoner in those days.
Looking back at History, we can learn from our mistakes or the mistakes of others and from the things done well, or not. But it can’t stop there. We must not dwell there.
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Well, if you don’t look forward, the furrows being plowed would be crooked… or even worse, you would run out of field or walk into a fence!
When we ‘plow’ or have work to do, it is good to focus on what is at hand and not always looking back and wishing things were different. We all do this from time to time. It’s okay, even the Israelites did it when things got tough after they left Egypt and were heading towards their Promised Land:
Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?”
Life sometimes is tough and we look back and think of what might have been if we had done this or that. We wish…, if only…
But. What is done, is done!
Ok, then what if we look forward toward the future and see where we are going. But where to start? As Christians, we are encouraged by what we know:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
This is a good starting place for any future. And I assume you know God personally. If not, you can (here’s how).
What could our future look like? It’s like going on a road trip. You have the destination in mind and you need a plan on how to get there.
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
A road map would help or we could end up going any which way and never arrive at our intended destination. So we mark out our intended path on the road map. We now have a plan.
But not all things go according to our plan. There will be delays, road blocks, or obstacles along the way. But remember that:
Many are the plans in a human heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
We now know where we have been and we have a plan for the future. So it is good to look at where we are now… watching our steps carefully:
The LORD makes firm the steps of those who delight in him; though they stumble, they will not fall, for the LORD upholds them with his hand.
So, heads up!
As Christians, be greatly encouraged. Though we may stumble when all around us seems to be falling apart, obstacles in our path, friends loosing jobs, a world financial crisis, doom and gloom touted from every which way – the media, our workplace or from those around us – we will not fall.
We are no longer shackled. We have been set free. God is for us and upholds us with His Hand. Our plan is in place. An amazing future awaits. So what remains?
It’s time to put your hand to the plow. For today, we have work to do.