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Image may contain: 1 personI should read the Bible.  I know this.  How else am I going to broaden my understanding and deepen my connection?  Every year, it is one of my resolutions, but up until February or so I didn’t do it.  I’d have good intentions and read a bit here and there for a week or two, but I never got very far.

Then in February I spotted the reading plans at Bible Gateway.  I had seen something about a chronological Bible – the text of the Bible is printed chronologically in order of the events depicted.  I was curious and Bible Gateway has an online chronological reading plan.  Each day, they send me a link to that day’s reading depending on how far you are in the plan.  Today’s reading is 1 Kings 12-14.  A couple of days ago, the reading was Ecclesiastes 7-12, and it included a verse that surprised me because it is just so . . . today.  Here is Ecclesiastes 7:10.

Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?”
    For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.

Wow.  That hit a little too close to home.  Whether you are in the “Make America Great Again” or the “I Miss Obama” camp, so many of us spend our time looking back. We talk about when the US was crime free.  Back in the good old days.  Back when people had family values.  Back when people were good. Remember how easy things were before we had to wear masks?

The story of Lot’s wife speaks to this.  She turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back.  She stood frozen, rooted to the spot instead of moving forward.

When we are hip deep in difficulties it is easy to look back.  But don’t do it to the extent that it keeps you from moving forward.  Don’t do it to the point that it keeps you from working toward solutions for todays problems.

How then should you look back?  Do it to gather strength.  My grandmother (see her photo) and her sisters grew up during the Dust Bowl.  They lived in Amarillo, Texas.  There were polio epidemics.  They survived their father’s alcoholism and war.  Times were tough.  My grandmother made clothing out of flour sacks and explained to me how to sort the various fabrics for dresses, boy’s shirts and underwear.  Think about it.  She even made their underwear.

Times are tough today and I’ve made masks but not underwear.  Thank goodness.  Although if I made underwear no one would be able to stare at my wobbly seams.

I look back and I see the thing my family survived.  My Grandmother wasn’t alone.  She had her sisters helping her out.

I’m not alone either.  I’ve got tidbits of wisdom from the Bible.  I’ve got my sisters, Lori and Ruth, and the many other women around me today.  I live with two hard working men and we are in this together.  Grandma always said I should read the Bible and it is definitely something I will continue to do moving foward.  That said, I do wonder what the next timely verse will be.

–SueBE

 

Sometimes I have a hard time looking forward.  What can I say?  I’m a writer.  I want to rewrite the bits that didn’t turn out so well.  If only I had done this instead of that.  

But God doesn’t want us to constantly look back over our shoulders.  I’m convinced that that is the lesson we are supposed to get out of the story of Lot’s wife.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, Lot and his family are allowed to leave Sodom before the city is destroyed.  They are told to hurry and not look back, but Lot’s wife can’t resist a look back over her shoulder.  She is turned into a pillar of salt.

I think that God knows what looking back constantly does.  It freezes us in place.  We are unable to move forward.  Instead, our focus remains in the past.

Look forward.  Listen.  God will show you the way!

–SueBE

 

I’ve always been both fascinated and horrified by the story of Lot’s wife.  For those of you who don’t remember the story (Genesis 19), God allows Lot and his family to flee the city of Sodom before it is destroyed, but they are warned not to look back.  Lot’s wife looks back, someone had to do it, and she’s turned into a pillar of salt.

Wow.

As a kid, this story really freaked me out. One mistake.  No second chances.  No grace.  Pillar of salt.

As an adult, I’ve come to suspect that Lot’s wife did it to herself. Things had been going downhill in Sodom for a long time.  It was not a nice place and the destruction was coming, but God gave her a chance to escape.  He gave her an opportunity for a new beginning. Instead of moving boldly toward, she looked back.

It doesn’t say so, but I suspect this wasn’t a simple glance.  This was someone whose focus was on the ‘then’ vs the ‘now.’

How often do we do this to ourselves? Whether the problem is flagging membership in the contemporary church, the effectiveness of our schools, or gun violence, we go on and on about how things used to be.

I didn’t realize how debilitating this could be until my son said something the other day.  “When people go on about how bad the schools are, and they’re talking about my school, or how pathetic the church is, and this is the church I go to, they make me feel awful. I’m there. I’m doing my best, but somehow I’m not good enough. I’m not giving up on them but they’re pissing me off.”

He wasn’t talking about people who aren’t part of the school or part of the church.  He was talking about people on the inside. Instead of looking for a way to blossom and grow, like Lot’s wife, we look back. Do it too long and we’ll be stuck that way.

It isn’t an easy habit to break, but it helps that I live with a teenager.  With some serious eye rolling on his part, I manage to get myself turned around and looking for the Path that will lead me to where God would have me go, the path to a new tomorrow.

–SueBE

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