Walking Backwards

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.” Proverbs 4:25-26

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My family ventured to an unfamiliar part of town on recent Sunday afternoon to see my stepson play baseball. “Tight” is not adequate enough of a word to describe the parking lot. Three different fields filled with six different teams and six different sets of parents and friends- not to mention the concession stand and umpire volunteers- all crammed into this tiny lot. Not fun.

It wasn’t long after we got settled in the bleachers that one of my five-year-old twins got bored.

“Mom, can we go back to the car to get my baseball glove?” Step toward the goal, not backwards

Now, I rarely get to see my stepson play baseball, but I had to tend to my little guy. So I agreed to go back to the car with him.

On the way there, he decided it would be fun to walk backwards through the parking lot. At any other time I would have gladly allowed him to do this until his little legs couldn’t take it anymore. But there were cars constantly coming and going, so I gave him some advice.

“Honey, if you walk backwards you can’t see where you’re going and you won’t be able to see the danger coming at you.” He looked at me with a very puzzled look.

Isn’t that just how our Christian walk can be sometimes? We’re trying hard to get where we want to go, but we’re too busy “walking backwards” not paying attention, and so we don’t see the danger coming at us. God tries to warn us to turn around, but we just keep our heads down and keep on truckin’. Then, BLAM! We’re hit by something we never saw coming.

Sometimes that might be a loss of a job, or your child’s slipping school grades, or your only car goes dead after months of some strange noise it made. Or maybe it’s as simple as gaining a few pounds. Whichever it is, it all comes from not paying attention. We just don’t bother to look around and make sure we’re on track.

I read recently about a dream John Bevere, an amazing author and speaker, had a number of years ago that illustrates this better. His dream was about a man in a row boat that was pointed upriver and the poor man was rowing his heart out against a very swift current trying to get some distance back up the river. He eventually gave up and abandoned ship when a party boat came by. The point of the dream had to do with how Christians sometimes conform to the world and drift downstream in their walk with Christ. Instead of staying in their boat and keep trying to “press toward the mark” as the apostle Paul wrote…

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14 NIV

…they just give up.

What I got more from this dream was that the man was pointing, yep, backwards. Now, you might say, “But Gina, the man was supposed to be pointing backwards. He’s in a rowboat!” And you’re right. He wasn’t doing anything wrong necessarily because we’re all supposed to be doing our best and pressing on to reach the goal of what God has for us. But at the same time, the man in the dream couldn’t, or wouldn’t, pay attention to what was behind him, down the river. He wouldn’t turn around and take a look.

Was there a waterfall coming? A huge log that would upend his boat? A school of giant river carp that would jump out of the water and slap his head so hard he would be rendered unconscious? Did he ever bother to notice the signs God posted along the banks to warn him that he’s about to take a wrong turn?

Nope, he didn’t.

Stay in the boat so you don't go backward

If we’re going to run the race to which we’ve been called and fulfill the expectations that God has of us, by all means let’s row our hearts out. But we have to keep an eye out for what’s going on  around us or else we may miss God’s caution signs.

Were you too preoccupied with fantasy football to see how upset your coworkers were with you because you weren’t getting your part of the project done? Were you so caught up in keeping the house perfect, or maybe working at the office too much, that you didn’t notice that your child was being bullied at school? Or you didn’t notice your spouse was feeling sad and ignored and found attention from someone more willing to give their time (and maybe more)? The Lord forbid!

Don’t walk backwards, my friend. Keep your wits about you as you navigate the parking lots of life so you can see the dangers around you. Remember that the enemy comes to seek and destroy you. If you’re too busy being caught up in the busyness of everyday life you may be caught off guard.

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.” Proverbs 4:25-26 NIV

Turn around and face the Lord. Lift your eyes up to Him so He can show you where to go. Ask Him for wisdom and discernment to help you see and understand the warning signs before you go off track. He doesn’t want you walking backwards through the dangers of life. He wants to lead you and guide your every step as you face forward to the future so you can safely get to where He wants you to be- with Him in heaven.

My son and I successfully made it to our car to get the baseball gloves. And we safely made it back to the field without incident, which went a lot faster and easier when my son finally turned around to walk forward. I believe that’s what God asks of us too. Simple obedience to His commands and paying attention before Satan attacks. If we can all do that, we’ll never miss any blessings that He wants to pour out on us.

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