Looking Back So We Can Look Ahead

Looking Back So We Can Look Ahead

Recently, we started singing a new worship song at Green Hills called “I Will Look Up” by Elevation Worship. The song caught my ear the very first time I heard it and has been stuck in my head and heart ever since. My favorite line comes in the second chorus, “I will look back and see that You are faithful; I look ahead believing You are able.” I love that simple wording of a profound truth: looking back at what God has done in our lives helps us trust Him to deliver us again.

When we struggle with uncertainty about our future-a career transition, financial hardship, moving to a new area-we wonder how it will turn out. We hope that everything will be ok. In those times, we need to remember the faithfulness of God from our past. Throughout the early history of Israel, God called the people to set up monuments and memorials so they could remember how God had delivered them. One of those times is recorded in the book of Joshua, a book that Pastor Jared just preached about this past Sunday. (Listen to his sermon “Promised Land” here) When Joshua was leading the people into the Promised Land they encountered the formidable, overflowing Jordan River and wondered how they would get across. They were afraid they would be stuck and left vulnerable to the pagan nations around them who plotted their destruction. God told the priests to take the ark of the covenant ahead of the people and walk into the Jordan. As they did, God moved the water of the river so the people could walk across on dry land. After they all made it over safely, God commanded one man from each of the twelve tribes to take a stone from the river and build a monument. He designed the monument for a specific reason: to help them in the future remember how He had delivered them. The monument was designed to be a sign among them, so that when their children asked what the stones meant, they could tell them about how God delivered them.

I believe that God wants us to build monuments, so to speak, in our lives too. They remind us and proclaim to our children that God has delivered us in the past and will do so again. Maybe our monuments won’t be made of stone. Maybe they’ll be picture albums, videos, poems, songs, or paintings that will tell of God’s mercy and providence. Maybe we can take one dollar from the money God has provided us, frame it, and post it on the wall so that when we are in a season of financial hardship we will remember how God has provided before. Maybe we can make a video of each member in our family talking about one thing God has given them so that we can remind ourselves to be grateful for what we have. Whatever form it takes, we should create tangible reminders of what God has done in our lives so that when we face difficult circumstances we can trust that God will not leave us on our own.

So the next time you sing “I Will Look Up” think about how God has helped you in the past. Remember the ways He’s delivered you from trouble, pain or fear and thank Him for it. When you feel unsure, anxious or stressed about your future sing the song and profess your trust in the mighty hand of God. Create monuments to remind you of our loving and gracious Father. Look back at His deliverance and look ahead believing that God is “able to do far more abundantly beyond” all you ask or think, according to His power at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).

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