“But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:26 (NIV)
If you are a human (and I think most of you are), you have a past. In the past you are also likely to have some things that are painful. When I was in high school I briefly worked for a large catering company, mostly to help carry stuff and help set things up for them. There is nothing like trusting a teen to carefully move stuff for you. One of the jobs I was on had me carrying food for an outdoor gathering in a court yard. At this location we had to walk through the building to get out to the courtyard. It was a nice open space to walk through so all of us could freely move to and fro. One of the tasks for me this beautiful day was to roll a large, 120 gallon container of lemonade. Perfect for an out door party! The task only required that I take the summer time beverage through the building safely to its destination. Easy. So I glided the drink across the carpeted floor. I was rolling right along and that’s when I heard it. Up in the balcony a man yelled, “Noooooooooo!” Life moved in slow motion. I saw the look on his face as I watched my barrel slowly fall over. 120 gallons of lemonade flooded the floor in front of me. I froze. There was nothing I could do. Nobody said a word to me.
I was humiliated.
That memory is forever burned in my mind. It happened 20 some years ago, but my feelings make it seem like it happened yesterday. In my job I encounter people who often have the past haunting them. For some, it rules them. All of us have some sort of garbage from the past that can really linger around, but some folks just live in the past. They have trouble getting over a relationship, or relive their high school glory days (there should be an Uncle Rico reference here), or continually lament that we are no longer in the “good ol’ days” (because medical care and civil rights were better then…?). The unfortunate result is that it freezes these people from progressing in life.
They just become stuck.
There is the story in the Bible about a dude named Lot living with his family in a lovely land known as Sodom and Gomorrah. You may have heard of it. As it turns out, God was not pleased with somethings going on in town and decided it was time to burn it down. God helped Lot out by notifying him of the impending destruction and encouraged him to take his wife and family and get out of Dodge and not to look back. So Lot did pick up and leave “but Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” She looked back to her past, she looked back on the destruction, she decided that looking back was better than going forward.
And there she stuck.
You may be looking at things in your past right now and feel like you just can’t move forward. There may be someone you can’t seem to forgive. That old habit creeps in when you feel insecure. You wish you had one more chance to say goodbye. There is a fear of letting that past go because you won’t be able to control it anymore. Funny thing is, it is controlling you. Whatever that thing in the past that is making you a pillar of salt, it has power over your life. The thing about God is He is calling you forward, towards progress and growth, to a place of hope, to the future. The resurrected Christ shows that peace can be made with the past so that in no longer has power to hold you back. It’s time to let it go and move. Do whatever it takes. Go to a counselor, talk with a friend, walk through the 12-steps, make amends. God has something better in mind than the pain of your past.