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Look Behind You

Check your mirrors.

Take a gander over your shoulder.

Reconnoiter the rear.

Be aware of what’s in your wake.

However you phrase it, it’s a good idea to look behind you, and this week I have–literally and chronologically.

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Last Sunday I was so engrossed in viewing the rosy sunset–hurriedly pulling on my boots, grabbing my camera, snatching a hoodie off the entryway peg–that I almost missed the spectacle in the eastern sky.

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The warm air of the humid, summer day had transformed into a thunderstorm.

The high tops of the clouds were dazzling white in reflected sunshine, while the lower sections were shadowed blue.

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I couldn’t see any lightning or hear any thunder because the storm was too far away. I was safely in a top-row “bleacher seat” where I could watch the cumulus bloom, the anvil-head form, and the rain pour down in gray sheets.

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Weather “events” (a meteorologist’s  euphemism) like this can yield destruction as well as beauty. This storm didn’t produce tornadoes, but thunderstorms that same evening in other parts of Iowa did.

Here are more storm photos from an Iowa news station.

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The stories of our lives (as individuals and, collectively, as churches and nations) are a similar compilation of contrasts. When we look behind chronologically, we see glowing beauty and destructiveness, benevolence and the ugliness of self-centered choices.

We examine our past and realize we are crowned with glory and honor and yet only dust. All parts of our past have something to teach us. We need to look back and remember.*

God told the Israelites to recall their story as a people, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, 1 Chronicles 16:12   NIV

God wanted them to remember the marvels of their past.

Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there Deuteronomy 5:15

remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. Deuteronomy 7:18

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years Deuteronomy 8:2

Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb. Deuteronomy 4:10

The Lord also wanted to jog their memory of their unfaithful ways.

When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. Psalm 106:7

Remember this and never forget how you aroused the anger of the Lord your God in the wilderness [worship of the golden calf]. Deuteronomy 9:7

They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them Nehemiah 9:17

the Israelites . . . did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. Judges 8:34

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Look behind you. Remember what God has done in the story that is your life.

I remember the teacher who assigned a book that led me to try to understand the motives of the first century Christian martyrs. I recall the intern pastor who prayed to Jesus as if He were a real person. I remember friends who introduced me to a church where people valued the Bible and respected its authority. I am inspired.

I look back and remember other times, even though I knew better, I was unfaithful and disobedient. I am thankful for God’s forgiveness.

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. Psalm 77:11

I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. Psalm 143:5

What do you remember about your faith journey?

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Of course, I am simply proposing an honest assessment of one’s life. If you are under care of a counselor for past trauma (or should be), follow their advice on how best to deal with those issues.

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