“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:13 NLT
On a recent trip to Disneyland, I was doing what you do most there, standing in line. Right behind me was a young couple. They were not yet married, but you could see they were very much in love. He was standing with his arm around here, her head was on his shoulder, and he was gently kissing the top of her head. There’s nothing sweeter than seeing new love begin to blossom. For those of us who have had that experience in our own lives, seeing couples like this one immediately takes us back to the beginnings of our relationship. How pure it felt. How easy it was to become excited just to see him the butterflies in the stomach that happened when you held hands. There is something so exciting about falling in love and seeing young love sometimes makes us want for those moments in our past when life and relationships were simpler.
In that same line, though, standing right in front of me was my husband. He was holding our daughter. She had both hands on either side of his face, and he was gently kissing the top of her head. Our relationship is no longer new or simple. We’ve had many trials and difficulties. But despite the fact that I may not get quite so many butterflies in my stomach, I know with all my heart that the love that I have for this man today is so much more than what I felt for him back at the beginning. The two can’t even compare. We don’t always agree, in fact, there are days when it seems we don’t agree on anything. We have faced heartbreaking moments and painful trials that have threatened to draw us apart but have only proved to bring us closer together. And we now have 3 (three) beautiful children that give faces to our love and commitment to each other. I quickly realized that as nice as it to reminisce about simpler times and days past, I would never give up what is standing in front of me for what is in the rear view window.
How similar that relationship is to my relationship with God. Can you remember when you first became a Christian? How grateful you felt to find out that the Maker of the Universe not only cared about you but loved you enough to send His son to die for you? The excitement and emotion about falling in love with your Jesus Christ and learning about His character are unlike anything else you will experience. Life seemed simple because your focus was only on Him.
But as you grow and mature in your faith, you quickly find out that this Christian walk that you are on is not an easy one. In fact, the closer you draw to Jesus, the more challenging and ugly the trials and difficulties become. There are many days when you look back to the beginning of your Christian walk and long for those days. But the truth is that simpler does not mean better. It is wonderful to be so emotional about being saved, but how much more wonderful that as you grow closer to God and see His hand move in your life, you can see His faithfulness in every situation. God calls us to not long for what is past, but to reach forward to what He has in store for us.
Where are you in your relationship with Christ? Are you a new Christian at the beginning of your walk? Then embrace that hunger to learn more and more about Jesus. Now is the time to build the foundation for your faith so that when the difficult times come, and they will come. However, now God has equipped you. There is no question how to handle them or to whom you need to turn. Or perhaps, you’re not a new Christian, but you’re in the middle of a trial and are having trouble trusting. Remind yourself of God’s faithfulness in the past and know that not only is He faithful in your present, but He will always be faithful in your future. Take that knowledge and push forward and see what God has in store for you!
Calvary Visalia Women’s Ministry Director