God would have us keep our eyes on Him, but we also can look back at His wonderful mercies. Hindsight can be valuable in showing us how to live more productive lives for Him.
Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
The sea horse is an amazing creature, one we don’t see in our fresh water lakes but may have observed in someone’s aquarium. Unlike most other fish, they swim in an upright position. Another difference is their ability to look both ahead and behind at the same time.
Unlike sea horses, human mothers are sometimes accused of “seeing” their disobedient children with eyes in the back of their heads. We probably have often wished we could. Perhaps it’s enough that we can look back with our emotions and memories. Sometimes that can be beneficial and pleasant, sometimes not.
Looking back on our lives or our history can teach us about our mistakes and show us how to avoid them in the future. As a journal writer for many years and a teacher of memoir writing, I see much value in looking back. Such hindsight can greatly impact our life ahead. Students have shared the new perspectives they’ve received from writing about the people, places and events of their past.
Unlike the sea horse with its double vision, we can use our mental capacities to look at our past in order to see what’s ahead. God’s Word speaks often about remembering the past blessings He has bestowed on us. Such memories help keep us focused on life ahead.
We’re told not to dwell on our past, however. “… forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
Paul’s words tell us he had much to be ashamed of in persecuting Jesus’ followers, and much to be proud of. His heritage and lofty position in the Jewish faith gave him bragging rights. For the sake of his newly-found faith in Christ, however, he chose to forsake his past. God would have us follow his example. Our eyes, like Paul’s, should be focused on our Savior and Lord so we can serve Him as He leads. Such vision will bring us peace and joy, emotional and spiritual health, and wisdom in using our past to make good decisions in the future.
Lord, thank You for the ability to look both backward and forward. Keep us from using the past as ways to become angry, fearful or proud. Help us instead to focus on You so we can see the future as a blessing for ourselves and for others. In Jesus’ name, amen.