Read: Mark 10:28-34
Reflect: In 2011 I endured a condition which could have become terminal: “Twisted Neck Syndrome”. It ate up my joy and my emotional, spiritual and mental health. Maybe you are familiar with a woman who contracted this very same condition? Unfortunately, she died of it – she turned into a pillar of salt. In Genesis, Lot’s wife was being physically pulled out of a disastrous situation and told by the angels to not look back. But she turned back, worshipping everything she was having to abandon. Rather than running forward towards God, she turned backwards.
THE SEASON OF LOSS
Over ten years ago I entered a season in which I spent most of my time looking back and longing for the past. We had we lost our ministry, our home, our main source of income, our church family, a chunk of friends and lot of things I had pulled my identity from. I soundly rejected the reversals and didn’t want change.
Mark 10 relates the story of a young man who said he wanted to change. He had been scrupulously religious from his youth, knew the commandments and was loved by Jesus. Jesus knew what had captured his heart: the young man’s worldly goods. Jesus told him to let go of what he treasured. But the man was saddened at Jesus’ words, and he left grieving, because he owned much property and had many possessions [which he treasured more than his relationship with God]. (Mark 10:22 AMP).
In witnessing this, the disciple Peter commented to Jesus, “Look, we have given up everything and followed You [becoming Your disciples and accepting You as Teacher and Lord].” (Vs 28). In 2011 I had the attitude of Peter; I thought I deserved a bonus for everything that had been lost. Like me, Peter probably didn’t realize he was still carrying around a boatload of pride, self-righteousness, and self-preservation. Peter, like me, viewed everything he had given up and thought that was the definition of true commitment.
WHERE TO PUT MY DREAMS
In contrast, honest devotion to Christ is compiling all those dreams, whatever they may be, and gladly laying them at the foot of the cross, at the feet of a good God. Real fidelity to Christ is not stockpiling a list of everything one has lost or may never have (regardless of the category) and feeling cheated at their loss. It is not forsaking a thankful heart and becoming resentful. Being a Christ follower is trusting God with His blessings which will replace what has been lost.
For me, the healing from my “neck condition” didn’t begin until I was finally ready to let the past stay in the past and trust in God’s character, that He is good, regardless of what the present looks like. I decided to adopt the attitude of the Apostle Paul, “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” (Philippians 3:14) That’s when God healed my “twisted neck syndrome”. Will my life ever look like it was pre-2011? Actually, I hope not. I have discovered that this side of 2011 is far richer spiritually, emotionally and mentally than what I ever had before 2011. I am reaching forward to whatever lies ahead.