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Looking Back, Moving Forward

Dear Evergreen Family:

Let’s play a game. This week, count the number of times you hear someone say: “I can’t wait for things to get back to the way they were before.” I’ve probably said it myself a half-dozen times in the past dozen days. However, is that where our eyes should be focused?

The Bible has a really interesting perspective on time. Looking back is important. It’s important to remember the ways that God has worked in the past. “Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you” (Deuteronomy 15:15). In fact, the Bible as a whole is a kind of “looking back” to make sure we never forget what God has done.

At the same time, the scriptures definitely encourage us not only to look forward but to move forward. We look back only to remember who God is. Not to dwell in the past. Not to nurse past hurts. Not to continue to scold ourselves for past sins. Just to hold onto the story. The vast majority of our attention should be leaning forward. Birds were made to fly. Cheetahs were made to run. Fish were made to swim. Humans are meant to be in motion toward the future. When we resist that movement toward the future, we resist our design—and we get all messed up emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

Jesus said “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). Lean into the future. Don’t be afraid of it. Approach it with faith. Embrace it.

So, should we hope for “things to get back to the way they were before?” Maybe not. Maybe things will be a lot like they were before. Maybe they won’t. The question is, which way are we leaning? Are we leaning toward 2019, or are we leaning toward 2021? Are we looking forward to this new world (however new it might be), or are we gripping the old one tightly?

How about we lean into it with faith? That might be what gets us through.

May God bless you all.

Your Fellow Minister in Christ,


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