Move Forward by Looking Back

By Pastor Eric Everhart

This past week, Melanie and I had the rare opportunity to have a date night. The moons were aligned in just the right way and our schedules seemed to fall in place so that we could spend a night out. I’m sure some of you can relate! So we took full advantage of the opportunity and decided to have dinner with some friends. It’s always nice to have a peaceful dinner, that you didn’t have to cook, with people other than your children. I recommend this treat for everyone! 

While spending time with our friends, our conversation found its way to looking back at this past year. We talked about how much our kids have grown up, the craziness with COVID, a good year for the family business, the struggles with aging parents, and even how well our church was doing. We reflected on our amazing trip to Montana this past year with our middle schoolers and the spiritual growth that took place with the students and leadership. We looked back at some of the great family vacations we took and some of the struggles that came with raising our children. 

This past year also brought us many tears as we remembered the loss of our greatest mentor and friend in Alaska. But, at the same time, we gave thanks for the chance to be in Alaska with our high school students and the memories that were made and the faith growth that took place. We reflected on some of the health issues of the past year and even a close call with a major heart attack. World issues, our government, and even some of the major weather issues made their way into our conversation. 

But, as we looked back on the past year, we all agreed on one thing……God was faithful and present in all we experienced. His promise to always be with us, in all things, and in all circumstances, was seen clearly in the past year. We sought him out in prayer as we made decisions about our work and children. God has given us peace and hope about all that is going on in the world right now–he is still in charge. It was God’s presence that gave us strength to endure some of the major health issues of this year and it was his healing that cared for us physically. It was the work of the Holy Spirit that poured into our youth group trips, helping our students experience God in a rich and real way. And, it was our Jesus who shared in our tears as we said farewell to a special friend who was called home unexpectedly. It was our faith, our Jesus, who comforted us in the hardest times and was the joy we needed to mend the broken parts of our hearts. In all these things and many more, God was there, he was present, and he was faithful. 

Then I was reminded in my morning devotions, in Deuteronomy 6:1-12, that as we go into the new year, DON’T FORGET ABOUT OUR LORD. In verse 12 God’s word tells us, “be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt.” How could they ever forget the Lord after all he had done for them? Better question, how could WE ever forget the Lord after all he has done for us in the year 2021? Deuteronomy 6 tells us to remember him and remind our children about who God is and what he has done for us. More importantly, we are to tell our children about his commandments and that we should obey them out of grateful hearts and love for all God has done for us. 

As we go into a new year, ask yourself, “How have I seen God at work?” In what ways can you be thankful for God’s continued presence, even in the hardest of times? As you look back to reflect on God’s faithfulness in 2021, how will it help you remember as you move forward into 2022?  

Read Psalm 105:1-5, give thanks and live your life forward for God by being transformed from your past! 

Happy New Year!!

 

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