Points to Ponder: Back to the Future

Points to Ponder
Back to the Future

A lot of good stories are told, inspiring books written, and tear-jerker illustrations provided for sermons because of the Great Depression. We can go back to other hard times in history in both the recent and distant past and find heroes whose faith and perseverance enable us to see that our circumstances can become a school room rather than a prison cell. In a weight room, your muscles are toned and strengthened through regular encounters with resistance. In tough times we can look at the crisis we're facing and see it as the Chinese language displays. Crisis consists of two word pictures: one for danger, the other for opportunity.
I recall the story of Fanny Crosby, the great hymn writer who produced something like 6,000 hymns. She was blinded at age six by a quack doctor. Yet later in life she wrote of how blessed she was to be blind. Blindness gave her the opportunity to see more clearly through spiritual eyes the wonders of God. In several of her hymns she speaks of what she sees or will see, as she celebrates the promises of the Lord. She said that blindness was a gift because having sight would have brought many temptations that would have drawn her to things of lesser value. The temporal would have distracted her from the eternal.
Consider this as our nation faces this time of economic crisis: we are currently living in the past. Or at least it will become the past, beginning tomorrow. Just as we look back over half a century to glean the wisdom of those who endured incredibly difficult times, we might try to imagine what it was to be there as their stories were unfolding.
In the not too distant future, these times will be summarized in textbooks. The 30th edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul and other such books will be on the shelves, chock full of inspiring stories. You and I are living those stories - now. You're living in the past, experiencing teachable moments that will offer up wisdom to future generations yet unborn.
Wouldn't it be more useful to really pay attention to the moment you are in and "get it" now? Of all the great stories that will be told, the heroic risks, the unflagging faith that held folks together, the pressing on even in the face of impossible odds, how much will we miss?
People say, "If I knew then what I know now, I would have done it differently." Well, maybe they could have known it then, if they were paying attention at the time; looking ahead several months or years and then turning around and looking back. How would you like your current situation to turn out? Looking from here forward is to hope it works out okay. But looking from the future back, helps frame a bigger picture. How do you want this story to be told? If you prayerfully and carefully look back at now from the future, you might realize that you can rewrite how it's going. If you could see your problems as challenges, your losses as course corrections, your setbacks as preparation for a better step forward; what now are the possibilities? Sometimes you can't see what is clearly there because you're looking from the wrong angle. What it is will not necessarily change, but how you are seeing it can.
The very first thing you should consider as you evaluate your perspective is that God is sovereign. And because of that, if you are seeking to serve Him and to do life His way, you'll realize He can do more than you could ever ask or even imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Here is just a sample of what He promises us.
Gen. 18:14- "Is anything too hard for the Lord?"
Num. 11:23- "And the Lord said to Moses, 'Has the Lord's arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not!' "
Job 42:2- "I know that you can do everything, and that no purpose of yours can be withheld from you."
Jer. 32:17- "'Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you.'"
Matt. 17:20- "...for assuredly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."
Matt. 19:26b- "...with God all things are possible."
Luke 1:37- "For with God nothing will be impossible."
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* What is impossible?
Heb. 11:6- "...without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
James 4:2c-3a- "...yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss . . ."
* And so...why not have faith, diligently seek Him and ask?
Heb. 4:16a- "...come boldly to the throne of grace..."
We know Who holds the future and because of that we can handle with confidence and peace whatever the future holds.

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. These articles are also found at www.HilltopChristianFellowship.com.