When You Can’t See What’s in Front of You, Look Back

Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind! He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot – come, let us rejoice in him. He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations…(Ps. 66:5-7, NIV)

“I can handle one more,” I thought to myself as I adjusted the boxes already in my arms.

I headed out the door, balancing a load that wasn’t exactly heavy, just awkward and large enough to restrict my view.

Even though I couldn’t see anything in front of me, my familiarity with the staircases and hallways of this place made it possible for me to walk forward with confidence.

As I put one foot in front of the other, I thought, as I’m sure many do, how horrible it would be if I tripped or fell down the stairs with all these boxes in my arms.

I thought about how painful it would be, how probably every valuable I had in those boxes would likely break, and how humiliated I would feel.

But then I wondered – why don’t these fears stop me or cause me to be more timid than I actually am?

Even as I was thinking of all the ways this could go wrong, I took each step with confidence…

Knowing that the next step would be there;

Trusting in what I had become so familiar with; and

Believing that I didn’t have to see directly in front of me to know where I was going.

Moving forward in life can be scary at times, especially when you don’t know what’s ahead. Much of my life feels like that right now.

I have spent so much of my life wrestling with God for some level of understanding or control over my future.

I want to know what’s coming and what I might expect around each corner.

The degree to which I have confidence about today’s decisions has always been directly tied to the assurance I feel about tomorrow’s outcomes.

Not only do I want to see the next step in front of me, but I want to see the next ten steps.

As I carried one load after the other from my apartment to my car, I realized that walking by faith is a lot like walking down a flight of stairs with a stack of boxes blocking your view.

There are times in life where circumstances may block your view of what’s ahead, and it is in those time when we most need to remind ourselves of what we know.

I knew that it was exactly 20 steps from the top to the bottom because of how many times I had walked up and down those stairs.

When we know the promises of God because of how often we search the Scriptures and familiarize ourselves with it’s truths, we will be able to confidently move forward, even when we can’t see the next step.

Something that I’ve found to be exceptionally helpful in developing such familiarity and confidence is to look back as David did in Psalm 66 and be thankful for all the times, all the people, and all the ways that God has shown His faithfulness, His character, and His goodness; reminding ourselves that He’s always been faithful and that He always will be.

Even though it’s just a simple move across town, any kind of move or transition like this feels scary at times. What lies ahead doesn’t always seem clear, but God has been so good to me in reminding me, in the midst of the stress and frustrations of moving, of all the things I can be thankful for…

for my family who helped me move into my first apartment two years ago and made it home. Thank you for sacrificing so much of your time and being patient with me.

for my neighbors who sat outside on their deck next to mine and talked with me for hours. Thank you for helping me feel less alone when it seemed like no one else was around.

…for the people below me who kept me up so late that one night with their loud music and partying. Thank you for teaching me how to be slow to anger and patient in love and kindness.

…for the guy who would always be out on his deck reading when the weather was nice. Thank you for reminding me to live simply; to slow down, take my time and enjoy the little things.

…for my next door neighbor who went from being a stranger to one of my best friends. Thank you for having the courage to knock on my door and introduce yourself for the first time; for the late night talks, the McDonald’s run when the power went out, the clothes you let me borrow, and the many, many walks we took. Thank you for showing me God’s love in the unique way that only you can.

…and for everyone who helped me move out. Thank you for your willingness to help in any and every way when I needed it the most.

It’s sad looking back and seeing all the ways that this place has become home. I’m going to miss it with all it’s joys, lessons, and memories, but as I look ahead, unable to see all the outcomes that lie in front of me, it is in the looking back that I clearly see, without fail, a God who has and always will be faithful.

And for that, I am truly thankful.

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