She stood at the crosswalk, a dog near her feet barking at something unseen. The traffic roared by, and with the change of lights, slowly came to a stop. She could cross now, but for some reason was hesitant to step off the curb and cross to the other side. It was as though the crossing would require her to leave behind everything that she had known here on this side of the street. Things she was loathe to give up or forget. She was not quite ready, yet.
And so she stood, frozen in place. Afraid, perhaps, to move forward. The light changed again, the traffic moved on, and still she stood, frozen.
Why now does the story of Lot’s wife come to mind? Fleeing the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot and his family were told to not look back at the horrible scene. The instruction was explicit. Do not look back. And yet, Lot’s wife did look back, and instantly became frozen in that spot, a pillar of salt. Her life ended there. Why did she stop from fleeing from destruction towards new life? What captured her that she became a lesson for all who vacillate, procrastinate fleeing the destructive things of this world? Why did she hesitate?
I wonder what went through her mind when Lot’s wife looked back. I do know that with faith I must look forward, fleeing destruction. It is when I look back that I, too, become frozen. In Luke 17:20-37 Jesus speaks of the kingdom of God that is within us, not one that comes with observation. And of that day when the Son of Man, Jesus returns finally to a new earth, the old earth passing away. He admonishes us to, “Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. (Luke 17:32-33)
I pray that I will not hesitate in that day, not look back to collect my life of this earth, but leave behind all that should be destroyed, that is not needed nor fit for God’s kingdom. Perhaps that girl at the curb is considering those things as well. Only when the light shines her direction, and the dangers stop, does she confidently step off the curb, and walk through parted waters to the other side, safe all the way. Even the dog at her feet has quieted, knowing all is finally well.
When one has the Holy Spirit dwelling within, a grand and marvelous thing occurs. We are given all the sufficiency we need for a life of godliness, pleasing to our LORD, for He Himself is our sufficiency. Like the girl on the curb, this is a lesson of learning to be meditated on, allowing one’s mind to be renewed with God’s way of thinking. In this world our sufficiency is touted to be found in our efforts, accomplishments, comparisons to others as we race to bigger and better, more excellent things. To be recognized, praised and lauded for who we are, our wisdom, our abilities, our delightful personalities, all that makes one look good in this life. And yet, eventually, if one is truly honest with oneself, these things become empty, hollow shadows of the true, deep desires of one’s heart. That God-shaped vacuum that can only be filled and satisfied with God Himself.
It is hard living in a broken world when the promise and walking toward fulfillment is always just another step ahead. To be patient with the process of refinement that comes with endurance, trials, sorrows, the challenges one must face each day. To find peace in the process when one sees their own conflict within. Yet, with the sufficiency of Christ we can rejoice in the hope of things to come! And even now, to hesitate not for the God things that are greater than the things of this world!