Leave it in your rearview mirror

Published 6:10 pm Friday, June 5, 2015

The first twenty-five years of my life were spent in a very small world.  It was a good world, but a limited one, and one of the things that seemed strange to me was the thought of driving more than ten miles to a job (when I was a kid, if we rode more than ten miles I was probably already struggling with car sickness!).  Now that I live in a larger world, my twenty-two mile journey to the hospice office is just a little jaunt to the east that allows me to prepare my mind to face the day.
One morning last week while driving in that direction, as is often the case, I was listening to Bible reading and enjoying a snack.  If you have traveled Highway 84 you know about the frequency at which the lifeless carcasses of unfortunate varmints can be seen that did not make it across the busy road during the night, and as I drove along I saw one of them in the distance as I was enjoying a few fresh blueberries.  Just as I approached and straddled the unidentified deceased animal, I opened my mouth to enjoy a few more fresh berries.  Suddenly I realized undeniably what the critter was as his pungent scent quickly filled the car.   Without going into deeper details, I will only say that words are insufficient to describe the combination of a nostril full of the smell of a dead skunk and a mouth full of fresh blueberries!
As unpleasant as that moment was, it was short lived and soon all the bad stuff was in my rearview mirror, the bad smell was replenished with pleasant fresh air, and the blueberries tasted good again.  All I had to do was to continue to move ahead with confidence that things would get better—and they did.
We have all faced unexpected and unpleasant seasons in life.  When we do, we have to make some deliberate choices about them; we can allow them to cause us to turn back, or we can let them stop us so that we are stranded in an unpleasant state that controls us and hinders our drive to move forward, or we can leave them behind and move ahead.  Certainly, God wants us to learn from our adversities, refuse to come under the control of things that disrupt us, and move forward.  With that, it is essential that we always bear in mind that those unpleasant, unfortunate, and unwanted events in life are quite often beyond our control, so it is imperative that we learn to trust God as our strength and not try to overcome them without His help.
Paul, a great man of God and one of the writers of the Bible, offers us a solution that enabled him to get beyond things that could have hindered his life and spiritual growth.  He shared it in Philippians 3:13-14:  “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”  (New International Version).
To put it in South Georgia language, in order to live a fulfilling Christian life, we have to leave all dead skunks in the rearview mirror and move ahead into the fresh air that God will provide for us.

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