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  • Writer's pictureJack Hager

>Moving Forward, Looking Backward

>Fred Smith was quite a guy. You can subscribe to “Breakfast with Fred” at . Here is a great article he titled “Moving Forward, Looking Backward.”

Reminds me of a great tweet from Mark Batterson (also a favorite!) which said, “Living at the intersection of gratitude for what God has done, and anticipation for what God is going to do.”

Here is Fred’s article:

Aging is good in many ways. For example, I am able to see the hand of God more clearly in my circumstances. But, this doesn’t mean I have extra-sensory-perception, nor do I read tea leaves. In fact, just the opposite is true. For years, I wondered why I could not see God’s plan going forward as distinctly as I could looking back. (As you get older, you have a great body of experience to look back upon….) Then it hit me, I must go forward in faith, and then He allows me to look back in knowledge. Faith is validated backwards.

Remember what C.S. Lewis supposedly said when queried about his first response to heaven? “Oh, now I understand,” is his reported reply. The Apostle Paul confirms this when he talks about seeing through a glass darkly, but then face to face. We grew up in a most polluted part of North Nashville. The coal soot made everything black……we thought Paul must have lived in our neighborhood when we read of his dark glasses!

When I look back, I am struck by conversations, coincidences, and contacts that seemingly were insignificant at the time. A casual word of encouragement, a pointed question, or a connection with another were just ordinary happenings. In retrospect, they were often the most meaningful for me or someone else.

I believe God wants us to dedicate our lives, not just volunteer them. The dedicated person gives up control, saying “I’m available to you. You do with me what you want to do.” The volunteer, on the other hand, bargains. “I’d like to have a significant business platform. I will take the small testimony spots on the program until I get the “Headliner for Jesus” position.” Or, “I think I could serve you best as the pastor of a really large church. I will pay my dues, serve the small congregation until something more important opens up, and then really set the world on fire!” That is availability on our own terms.

When we leave it in God’s hands, we never know what will happen. As one who very much dislikes surprises, it was hard for me to let go. But I am enjoying the serendipity of the Spirit more these days.

Ed Hayden was a Dallas oil man. He discovered the power of God’s plan. He experienced the joy of seeing God work through him as he dedicated much time and energy to Bill Glass and the prison ministry.

At his funeral, a poorly dressed man slowly moved toward the casket. He spoke in broken English. I stood by as he leaned over Ed and kissed his forehead. I later learned this man came to know Jesus because Ed stopped to talk with him in his cell. This man, now released, has dedicated his life to the gospel.

I bet Ed didn’t go home that day telling his wife he had changed a man’s life. Maybe he didn’t even get to look backwards, but God had work for Ed to do that day. Ed went in faith.

The question came to me, “Who will kiss your forehead in gratitude because you pointed them to Christ and a spiritual experience?”

Think about: 1) Whose life impacted my spiritual walk? 2) How hard is it for me to live by faith? 3) What strikes me about God when I look back?

Words of Wisdom: “I must go forward by faith, and look backward in knowledge.”

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