A few summers ago, our family spent several weeks in Colorado. Naturally, we hiked. Our kids were not fans. It was, “Too hard, not fun, too hot, not enough snacks,” you name it. We trained our kids not to say, “I can’t do this,” but rather, “I currently struggle with . . .” challenging things. At one point, our daughter commented, “I currently struggle with this mountain.”
Mountain climbing isn’t easy, but I’ve learned one thing that helps me keep going: stopping once in a while and looking back.
When we look back, we see that yes, we actually are making progress. The top is closer. The view is getting better. Just that look back can encourage us to keep pressing on.
As we enter a new year, we do not know what the future holds.
It could be that you are excited about the possibilities. But maybe you’re heading into a new season that is uncertain. Prayers you started last January may sit still unanswered. The path forward might be a tough road. It’s easy to say, “I currently struggle with this,” and want to give up.
So before we move forward, we need to look back.
Recently, I did this with my ministry team at work. On a retreat, we reflected on Joshua 4, when the Israelites crossed the Jordan. After they did, God admonished them to take stones from the river and pile them up in remembrance of what He had done, so that future generations could see His faithfulness.
In the absence of stones, we found a piece of driftwood from the Intracoastal. On one side, we wrote, “we remember . . .” We each took turns writing something God did for us this past year, some way He showed His faithfulness. It was good to reflect on how He has worked good in our lives.
On the other side, we wrote, “therefore we hope . . .”
Therefore. It’s an important word. We hope because we have seen. Looking back, we remind ourselves how far He has brought us. We see that He has been our faithful companion along the path. It is His strength and wisdom that have brought us to this place. He will guide us the rest of the way.
It’s in looking back at His faithfulness that we can move confidently with hope into the future.
When the future looks foggy, look back. When we do, we gain vision for what is ahead. We record the evidence of His faithfulness to chart our way for the future. There will be stones of remembrance to gather when we stop again further down the path. He has loved us too much to stop now. The One who brought us this far will continue on the journey.
Look back so you can keep going forward.
To help you look back, I’ve made an end of the year review for you to do. Just enter your email below and subscribe to receive it.