I’m going to start this post with an apology and a disclaimer. First, I want to apologize for going in many different directions in this post. I was so overwhelmed by this message I found myself piecing together scripture and connecting the dots from all over the Bible. I can absolutely see why this may seem like a chaotic mess if you’re not in my head.
Secondly, I want to ask for you patience. I’ve worked on this for hours and hours. After leaving it for a bit, I thought to myself, “I’m not even all that great of a writer. People are going to judge me for this and it’s not going to make sense.” However, I felt peace in knowing that writing this blog post wasn’t for my own glory, but for the glory of God. And He is so deserving of it. I took a leap of faith and trust by putting my fears aside and sharing this with all of you (so please bear with me!).
Lastly, I pray that by reading this you may find some amount of hope and encouragement to trust in the Lord and remain faithful to Him, even during the most difficult times in your life. I pray that some person may find as much encouragement reading this as I found in writing it.
This season in life is particularly difficult for me and as I’m doing my morning devotional, I find myself completely convicted by the message from God. He knew exactly what I needed to hear. (I’m doing a daily devotional through the SheReadsTruth app. I highly recommend this app for ladies out there looking for a good place to start getting into The Word.)
Today’s lesson: Lot’s Wife.
Genesis 19:12-29 & Luke 17:28-33
As the Lord prepared to destroy the immoral cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, He extends His grace and mercy to a man named Lot by sparing him, his wife, and their daughters from the death of the cities. He sent angels down to warn them of the punishment and tell them to flee the city. Lot and his family were given specific instructions from the Lord through the angels:
“Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills lest you be swept away.” Genesis 19:17
We often talk about low and high points in our lives as peaks and valleys. Of course, in the context of Lot’s life, this was literal. The angels were directing him not to stop in the valley, instead go to the mountain top to escape the cities’ destruction. But I can’t help but think of this metaphor while reading this scripture: “Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley.”
Do not look back. Do not stop anywhere in the valley. We cannot obsess about looking back to our pasts and we cannot stop to sulk and complain the valleys of our lives. We must persevere and move forward by completely trusting in the Lord.
It is easy to find yourself slipping into doubt and start questioning the Lord while you’re in a valley (it’s the same way the serpent captured Eve). I’m going through this myself now and I’m guilty of thinking “What did I do to deserve this? How did my life get this way? Why is this happening to me? How can I fix this on my own?” But as believers, we cannot find ourselves “looking back to our old ways” of not trusting God. His will and His timing are perfect and sovereign. Jesus gives us hope during times of confusion in the book of John as he tells Simon Peter:
“Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7
What a beautiful promise the Lord gives us for hope in times of desperation! Nothing can be going your way and it may seem like life is out to get you. You don’t understand now, but someday you will! Someday we will understand the pains of our growing and look back on this time of confusion with peace and understanding. We know this is true because Jesus tells us it is!
Whether you’re on the top of the world or your in the lowest place of your life, find peace and comfort in the fact that God sees you, He knows you, everything you’re going through, and He will never ever leave you.
“I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” Isaiah 49:16
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
What a perfect picture of the intimate relationship Christ has for you. He has inscribed you on the palms on His hands. He knows you. He cares for you. He will never leave you. Being obedient to God isn’t always easy, especially in the low seasons, but if you are faithful to God, He will be faithful to you and you will reap the fruit of your faithfulness.
This faithfulness is described in John 21:1-14 during Jesus’ third appearance to the disciples. The disciples may not have understood why they needed to cast their nets to the right side of the boat. Why not the left side, or the back? However, they responded with obedience and faithfulness to Jesus’ instruction without question. Their obedience was rewarded abundantly. If you listen to God and obey Him, you will be fruitful in the eyes of God.
Unfortunately, Lot’s wife was overcome by doubt and she disobeyed by looking back at the ruined cities. Her act of distrust and disobedience yielded punishment and she was immediately turned into a pillar of salt. Are you running back to sin that God has rescued you from? Do you doubt the Lord’s abilities, His plan, or His will? Are you obeying God?
Our punishment for acts of disobedience may not be as severe as Lot’s wife, but if we are rewarded for faithfulness, then there is surely punishment for distrust. Is God telling you to end a toxic relationship? Is God telling you to spend less time on social media and more time with Him? Is He telling you to stop living in fear for He has a plan?
You probably won’t turn into a pillar of salt, but if you do not listen to what He is telling you, you may experience more pain, disappointment, anxiety, stress, and strain in your relationships with others and with the Father. How quickly do we go back to comfort of old habits and ways of living, even though we know God has a better plan? Jesus warns His disciples of this:
“Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” Luke 17:32-33
Do not keep your old life, identity, or habits. Be renewed in Him! Next time you find yourself in a valley, pushed to grow by the Lord, and you’re tempted to slip back into the comfort of old habits and decisions, I pray you remember the words of Jesus:
“Remember Lot’s wife.”
Today as I waited for over an hour in my car to be seen by a vet because my dog is so sick they didn’t want him in their facility, I was tempted to slip back into my outspoken temper. “I should call them and ask them how much longer it’s going to take because I was told I would be seen in 15-20 minutes. This is ridiculous. If they won’t see me, I’ll take my dog somewhere else.”
After a deep breath I heard the words pop into my head, “Patience, child.” I let go of the situation, gave it to God, and I felt my anger melt away. Then, within 5 minutes I received a call letting me know they were ready to see me… No nasty phone call needed! Of course I’m not perfect, but in this moment I felt God growing and working on my heart to become more like Him, and for once I passed the test.
Friends, God has given us His greatest grace and mercy. Because of the Gospel, we will not have to live eternally separated from Him. “Though it may be utterly difficult and painful, we must not look back to our former darkness, but run into His saving light” (Isaiah 43:18-19) (Morgan, SheReadsTruth).
Always remember that what we are saved for is much greater than what we are saved from and being obedient to God isn’t always easy, but it’s so worth it.