The Rearview Mirror

Image by Erin Alder from Pixabay

Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced. – 1 Chronicles 16:12 NIV

Before the days of digital devotionals, I used the blank backside of the front cover of my printed copy of Our Daily Bread to record prayer requests. This way, my prayer list and my daily readings were all in one place. When the month was up, I often tore off that cover and stuffed it into the new booklet until I had time to copy the prayer list.

One day while cleaning out my devotional basket, I came across those old prayer lists. Reading them over, I was amazed at how many of those requests had been answered. Perhaps not in the time or manner I’d wanted them to be, but, looking back over time, I could definitely see the hand of God. And my flagging faith was fortified.

While we focus forward and avoid looking back at our past mistakes, that doesn’t mean we never look back. We need to.

For it is only when we peer into the rearview mirror of life that we can see the hand of God more clearly than we could at the time, when doubts and despair, like dust swirling through the air, cloud our perspective.

As I look in the rearview mirror, I see ways God provided for my needs—a tank full of heating oil just before winter when we didn’t have the money to buy it, boxes packed with groceries left on our front porch by an anonymous giver at a time we didn’t have two nickels to rub together, money for gas so I could drive to Alabama to see my mother one more time before she died. Oh, I could go on and on and on … but you get the idea.

In the rearview mirror I see God’s faithfulness, deliverance, presence, protection and provision.

What I don’t see in the rearview mirror are my mistakes, my sins. For God has removed them from me “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). If God forgave me and remembers my sin no more (Jeremiah 31:34), why should I remember and beat myself up about it?

I often quote St. Paul, who wrote that he forgets what’s behind and reaches for what’s ahead (Philippians 3:13). What Paul was forgetting was his utter failure to meet up to God’s standards on his own.

And so we, too, should forget our failures.

But God wants us to remember the good things—His able protection, His abundant provision, His abiding presence. Why else would He command the Israelites to set up a memorial with stones from the Jordan River (Joshua 4), to observe the Passover Feast, to never forget the many ways He delivered them from the time He saved them from the Egyptians to the time they entered the Promised Land, 40 years later?

Why else would Jesus say at the Last Supper over the bread and the wine, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19)?

What do you see when you look in the rearview mirror of your life?

Thank you, God, for what I see in the rearview mirror. Amen.

Read and reflect on Joshua 4.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Tales of Tares

“Let both grow together until the harvest.” – Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 13:30 NIV

Oy, what a world we live in! Just booting up my computer for the day’s work can be depressing. I check my email first. Thank heavens for spam filters, which separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. I have it set on the highest setting, but still some garbage sneaks through. Then there are the forwards with the dire warnings of bad luck if I don’t pass them on. Phooey on them all. Once in a blue moon I’ll read one. One day, though, I did.

It was from my brother about jury duty. Seems that some shysters are calling folks, posing as court officials and telling them there’s a warrant out for their arrest because they didn’t report for jury duty. When the innocent party protests that they never even received a summons, the con on the other end tells them he’ll check into it, just give him your Social Security number and date of birth. Sometimes they even ask for a credit card number. Give them the information they want, and the nightmare of identity theft follows. (Check the validity of scams online at snopes.com.)

Then there are headlines, equally depressing. While most of them are about Covid-19 (IMO most are political propaganda to manipulate the public’s opinion of the current administration), once in awhile there’s some real news.

Like the article about the hype in Boston back in 2007. City officials were livid—the article’s word, not mine—over an advertising campaign for a late-night television program. Seems that the broadcasting company put up electronic signs on bridges and other obvious places—thirty-eight in all—of a blinking cartoon character giving passersby an obscene gesture. This led to shutting down highways, bridges, and a section of the Charles River, sending in the bomb squad and costing the city a half a million dollars.

“Commerce was disrupted, transportation routes were paralyzed, residents were stranded and relatives across the nation were in fear for their loved ones in the city of Boston,” said the Boston DA.

The mayor called the ploy an outrageous marketing scheme fueled by corporate greed. Well, yeah, isn’t greed what makes the world go ’round these days?

And, speaking of sickos, you better make sure you have a good antivirus program installed and don’t ever, ever let the subscription run out. Oh, and don’t forget the firewalls to prevent hackers from breaking into your computer files and stealing sensitive financial information.

Then there are the block lists to prevent corporate greed from giving you indigestion at dinnertime, the filth you have to wade through to find a decent program on television, the obscene and offensive t-shirts and bumper stickers. It’s enough to make me want to head for the hills and become a mountain woman.

Jesus warned there’d be times like this. Evil, sad to say, is here to stay, and evildoers aren’t going anywhere, either. Jesus called them tares—actually “darnel,” a weed that looked just like the wheat when it first sprouted. Only as the plants matured did the identity of the good seed and the bad seed become evident.

When you look around, Christian, and it seems that the tares are rampant, don’t despair. Instead, rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12) because, you see, the harvest is coming.

Dear God, sometimes I feel helpless and overwhelmed by the evil in the world around me. Help me to be a sturdy strand of wheat in a field of tares. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43.

From God, Me, and a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3, © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Contact me @ michelethuey@gmail.com if you would like to use this.