Keys to the Kingdom
By Carolyn Hayward Tucker
At the expense of sounding like the worst driver in the world, I’ll share my personal experience because it’s the perfect lede for this column.
My mother convinced me to enter my seven-month-old daughter in a baby contest in 1987. When we were in the car and on our way, I heard Mariam sneeze from the backseat. The thought of the possibility of snot running down her face was more than I could bear, so I turned around to see if there was a “disaster on aisle 3.” With my head turned and looking backward, I sideswiped an oncoming vehicle and my Buick and ended up in a bean field. My daughter and I were unhurt, and the driver of the other car had some scratches on her arm from the broken driver’s window. The wreck occurred because my attention wasn’t focused on what was in front of me. Looking backward instead of forward is the worst technique for driving.
Looking backward to your past is not the best approach to life either. Please don’t live your life looking in the rearview mirror. “Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62 TEV.) Maybe your past hasn’t been perfect. If that’s the case, then join the crowd and realize you‘re in good company. The only perfect One on planet earth was Jesus. And even His life had some disappointments, hurts, and sorrow. I encourage you to let go of your past, move on, and embrace a future that’s full of hope in Christ.
It’s nice that we have a new year every 12 months because it gives us a fresh chance to change out the old and do things different and better. In Luke 9:51 TEV, it states that, “Jesus made up His mind….” Let’s make up our minds to do something beautiful for the Kingdom of God in 2024. We need to watch where we’re going and stop being halfhearted about our purpose and future.
Jesus is the loving and merciful Redeemer who can make all things new. Believe against all odds that divine help is on the way in 2024. Don’t look back at the things that have fallen to pieces, but look up and forward to Jesus. He is the One that is designing your future on a rock-solid foundation. “Look straight ahead and fix your eyes on what lies before you” (Proverbs 4:25 NLT.)
Although I’m uneasy about heights, I managed to walk across the Royal Gorge four times by looking straight ahead and focusing my eyes on the other side of the bridge. Life is short and there’s no time to waste on wallowing in regret or discouragement about the past. We can pour our heart out to God for any sin or failure, humbly receive His mercy, and then bravely move forward in hope and peace.
If you search your heart and find something that you should apologize and ask forgiveness for, by all means, do it for the sake of peace. But if there’s nothing you can do to defuse the bomb of your past, then simply walk forward into your future holding onto Jesus‘ nail-scarred hand. He loves you and can heal you everywhere you hurt. But you have to make up your mind to let Him soothe away the scars of your past.
Let’s stop looking back and intensify our commitment to do something worthwhile for the Kingdom of God.
The Key: Obliterate your rearview mirror so you won’t look backward at your life.