Sunday, January 31, 2016

Walking backwards...

Revisiting a post from a couple of years ago.

I looked up at the clock and realized it was time for my students to return from activity...which meant I needed to step outside my room and make sure they weren't getting "lost" as they walked down the hall. I looked down at the sea of hormones in tennis shoes making their way toward me and that's when I saw him. That familiar blue jacket of one our students. He was at the front, moving my way - backwards. Deep in conversation, he was oblivious to the fact that he was headed directly into the watchful gaze of a teacher...

I called out to him. "Hey, buddy. God made your eyes and your feet face in the same direction for a reason - so you could watch where you are going!"

We both laughed and he turned around as I just shook my head in amazement of these silly kids.

I didn't really think about it again...that is until I was reading the book, God Loves Broken People by Sheila Walsh. 

At the end of the first chapter, this passage jumped out at me. "God says to you and me, "It's time for something new in your life. I open up new roads before you. I want to fill the desert of your soul with living water and satisfy your thirst with heaven's swift, cool brooks. Don't dwell on the past, and refuse to camp in the tragedies of your history or family background. Leave it all behind! And then come to Me, for I have something brand-new in mind for you.
So with one hand firmly gripping the Word of God, and the other hand reaching for the fresh future God is busily at work preparing for us, let us walk together on this journey into God's best..."

As I read this, my young blue-jacketed friend flashed back into my mind.

I had to wonder if I am doing just like my little friend. Am I walking backward, looking at the mistakes and regrets of my past and forgetting to look forward to where God is leading?

Keep in mind, I am almost 54 years old, (make that 57 now), so there's a whole lot of "past" I could focus on...and realistically, not QUITE as much future. But I'm supposed to focus FORWARD?

For some reason, all this brought a verse to mind. 
Acts 2:17 -“In the Last Days,” God says,
“I will pour out my Spirit on every kind of people:
Your sons will prophesy,  also your daughters;
Your young men will see visions,  your old men dream dreams."

Dream dreams? You mean God wants to give dreams to us "old guys" too? Dreams of what the future will bring? I mean, aren't we too old for dreams? When we were young we had lots of dreams, but our dreams never really came true. Instead we got reality. Is it possible that our dreams were for a time yet to come?

Like my crazy random thoughts are known to do, they wandered back to a church service years ago. I sat on the second row and listened as the missionary Jewell Matheny spoke. She told of when she was younger and knew she had a call from God, yet there were babies that needed her. How was she supposed to serve when she was up to her elbows in dirty diapers and runny noses? She cried out to God - when would her time come?

Those who know this wonderful family know that Jewell Matheny DID do some amazing things. First she raised a family that loves and serves God and she served alongside her husband as a pastor's wife and as a missionary. Then, after her husband's death, when many would think of retiring, God gave her a dream. She followed that dream and is now known as Mama Jewell to so many in Africa. As one African pastor said, "Africa will never be the same thanks to Mama Matheny!" 

The point of all this? God has a plan for each of us. It's not just for the young...but even for the "old" - we can still dream dreams. We've got to stop walking backward and looking at the past. God made our feet and our eyes point in the same direction for a we can watch where we are going. And as long as we are going with God - the journey is for a hope and a future.

"Never let your memories be greater than your dreams." - Doug Ivester

*Note: The next day when I got to school, I was looking forward to finding my little blue-jacketed friend so that I could give him a hug...only to discover the day before was his last day. He had moved. I was almost overwhelmed to the point of tears when I realized that God had "put a spotlight" on my young friend so that I could see....and not forget to pray as he moves forward into what God has prepared for him.

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