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Friday, June 28, 2013

Looking Back.

I just recently started a new Bible study plan. I had felt God telling me (in a mostly polite fashion) that I really needed to do a more diligent/serious job of reading the Bible on a daily basis. Not for legalism or for Christian gold stars or for me to feel better about myself - but as one way out of many ways that I could 'hear' from Him on a daily basis. I got the message and I've really enjoyed this plan so far. I got the Bible, the workbook, the study guide. I don't go halfway on much in life and this was no exception.

It's been about three(ish) weeks now and I can definitely say that making the effort to read a chunk of scripture every day and then thoughtfully think about it has made a big difference in me 'hearing' from God. I really like the Bible (and the study guide) so much because it makes me think about the time frame of when each part of God's story was told - who the characters were - what the message was then - and then it helps me take all that and apply to my life -- today -- and figure out what God's message is to take home and apply in my life; here and now.

Okay - onto today's reading. Part of today's scriptures included the story of Lot's wife. Lot's wife is one of the "famous" characters of the Bible. She's barely mentioned but she's kind of got this cool vibe to her. She's the 'pillar of salt' chick. She's the one that was SO DUMB that when God was raining down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah - girlfriend LOOKS BACK instead of high-tailing it out of dodge. She's one of those Bible characters that make us feel so.much.better. about ourselves.

Kind of like Noah, Lot's wife is a good Sunday School story for kids. I seriously remember (very vaguely) - being around 5 or 6 years old and taking glue and gluing salt to a picture in Sunday School. I have this tactile memory of sticky Elmer's and sticky salt and salty/sticky fingers while we learned all about DUMB DUMB who would rather have fire and brimstone instead of God's cool awesomeness in Zoar (the city that Lot said he wanted to move to - God saved it from destruction just for Lot [more on that later]). As a kid, I pictured a big salt shaker in the middle of the desert.

So, I'm reading these scriptures today and it's like I've read/heard this story for the very first time. Yes, I knew the story and I knew all about Dumb Dumb and her saltiness ---- but today - I read in Genesis 19:26 "But his [Lot's] wife LOOKED BACK . . ." I always knew that she had looked back. Her sin - failure - was always in the looking back. But today, I stood outside the story looking in and I finally understood where Lot's wife was coming from. I had always felt better than her - more spiritually superior - because what idiot in their right blessed mind would choose fire and brimstone over being saved from certain destruction?

Maybe it's because of the path that I've been on this past year, but I finally *got it* and the light bulb turned on in my head. I have done a lot of looking back this year. Even recently, I've had some things happen to me that I have been looking back on in shock and bewilderment (and a little bit of anger, if I'm going to be honest about it). The biggest event that's made me 'look back' this year though is my mom's passing in October. I have looked back and looked back and looked back until I don't think that I could possibly look back anymore than I have.

Losing my mom - losing the idea of her - the mom on the other end of the phone that will always love me no matter what I've done in the past or what I will ever do in the future - I look back and I want to undo everything. Her being gone. The bajillion trillion times that I took her and my dad for granted -- where I didn't love them for them - and didn't love them in a parent-honoring way like I should have. I look back and it is so painful - so hard - - - and all the looking back in the world doesn't BRING HER BACK like I want.

I get Lot's wife now. Man, oh man, do I get her. She wasn't choosing destruction instead of salvation -- she's just like all of us - with our own plans and ideas and mindsets about how our lives should be going - or how our lives should have gone - and she just wasn't willing to give up on her plan. Her plan rocked. For all we know, she might have just gotten new carpet and new curtains and planted a new garden at her house in Sodom and Gomorrah. And so what if Lot had this desperate need to move - Lot's wife didn't want to move - she didn't want to be uprooted - where were her daughters going to get new boyfriends when they got to Zoar anyway? I picture you or I watching our house burn down and we are just supposed to look away and giggle with glee and not worry about everything that we're losing in the process -- or how we're going to build a new life for ourselves with nothing but the clothes on our backs. Right. Sounds wonderful -- where do I sign up?

Reading that story - - - and hearing from God about how it applied to me - today, and in the past year - I had to stop and pray - and cry - and pray some more - about my looking back. About how it was sin - but more importantly - that by doing it - I was choosing certain destruction instead of salvation. That of the two paths, that God wanted me on the salvation route but that I had worn a rut - a deep, deep, deep rut - on the way to the 'looking back' path.

I'm not saying my rear-view perspective is 100% fixed but I definitely feel a lot better. I feel more healed and a lot more whole than I have in months and it's my prayer for you today that you will also be healed of your looking back - - -


Oh, and Zoar (which in Hebrew means "little")? That happening city that Lot specifically asked God/angels of destruction to spare just so he could live there? Yeah, Lot was such a chicken in the end [I think he had Biblical PTSD after all that fire and brimstone] that he decided that he'd rather live in a cave instead. This is the same guy that was Mr. Choosy Choosenstein when he and Abraham were originally dividing up their lands - he now decides the cave is where it's at. Which could lead to whole 'nother lesson on all the things we ask/beg God for and then we get them and we're still dissatisfied. ;)

I'm super thankful that I've started reading my Bible 'for reals' again every day!! <3 p="">