Working our way up and down the crisscrossing roads of the cemetery, I tried to keep Mason out of the large puddles of water left from the storm the night before. As you can imagine, it was next to impossible. He found riding through the puddles rather "cool" once he discovered the results of entering meant he could see the tire treads he was leaving behind as he exited. There was just one problem—while he was looking back at the tracks on the road— he drove off the road and into the grass—which began to frustrate him. He was trying to make it successfully down the road, but progress was delayed because his focus was behind him, rather than what was in front of him. Several times, I found myself reminding him that if we were ever going to make it to the end of the road, he had to keep his eyes forward. It was okay to take a quick glance back, but staying straight on the road, meant a quick glance back, not a steady stare. It wasn’t safe for him to peddle with his head looking behind him, if he was to avoid a crash; he had to keep his eyes forward.
As I walked behind Mason, watching him ride his little bike in and out of the puddles, I began to recall occasions I've ridden through some puddles of my own, left by the storms of life. Observing Mason looking behind himself, focusing on the marks he was leaving, rather than facing forward to where he was heading, caused me to admit that I too, have been guilty of turning my focus on the past. I've stared far too long at the damage of the storm and the painful marks on my heart that were left behind, rather than on what God has planned and prepared for my future. Mason’s steering off the road, because his eyes weren’t looking in the right direction, made me stop to consider the many collisions I might have avoided if my eyes had been looking forward, towards Christ, rather than keeping my eyes turned back, on my crisis. Sometimes we can become so focused on the pain of the past we fail to gaze intently, with hope, towards our future.
Just when I’d think we were heading in the right direction Mason would whirl his head around to see if he could still see any trace of his tracks. He pointed out to me that when he left the puddle the streak was dark, but only for a short time. Eventually it began to soften and fade, and slowly it completely disappeared. What a great revelation! One I could also relate to as there have been countless puddles that have left me with dark wounds. While some have faded more rapidly than others; through the gift of time, each wound softens and the hurt begins to fade, some injuries have indeed completely disappeared. If I choose to whirl my head around and focus my eyes on what lies behind me, I’m sure I would be able to see a few faint lines from those hurtful puddles. Where that leads, however, is off the path God desires for me and will eventually lead to a crash. I do not wish to crash, it’s hard getting back up.
As David fled the cave from King Saul's pursuit he wrote, "Be merciful and gracious to me, O God, be merciful and gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge and finds shelter and confidence in You; yes, in the shadow of Your wings will I take refuge and be confident until calamities and destructive storms are passed. I will cry to God Most High, Who performs on my behalf and rewards me [Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them]”(Psalm 57:1 AMP)!
What I desire more than anything are eyes that are fixed and focused on a Sovereign God, Who will be my refuge during the storms. Eyes that are fixed on a Loving God, Who wants to help me as I make my way out of the puddle and walk forward into His purposes for the future, using the pain of the storm to glorify Him.
Where are your eyes fixed? On the puddles of the past or are they looking, with hope, at the future? Don’t allow your progress to be delayed because you are focused on what is behind you; “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you” (Proverbs 4:25 NLT).
Avoid staring at the past
Begin to fix your eyes forward
Casting "the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully" (1 Peter 5:7 AMP).