January 17, 2015


There’s an old saying that those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are bound to repeat them. It’s not as if every age has new problems to face; the same repeating cycle of sin, despair, hope and restoration dogs every generation and strata of society. It is distressing to see people falling for the same old temptation of the devil and cycling through sickness of body and soul to emotional disgust, and finally to recognize the safeguards of godly morals. 

Undergirding this repetitious carousel is the same old human nature from Adam that doesn’t change with education, sophistry or moral rectitude. Parents recognize this in adolescents who see guidelines set by parents and the past as a barrier to freedom. For many, independence, questioning authority, or experimenting with life is a mark of courage and advancement in learning how to live.
The wisdom that looking back clarifies the future is common knowledge, although mostly ignored. Much wisdom of the past is learned from experience—preferably someone else’s—and provides a great deal of good guidance, but it can only marginally help our journey on earth. And no insight from history can prepare us for our ultimate destiny.

Looking up, therefore, has greater benefit for guiding the future than looking back. History tells us humankind has always sensed this in the ubiquitous search for something beyond what our senses experience. And surely, the infinite extent of eternity over time measures the importance of the next life compared with this. Yet in this “advanced” age, the greater majority of earth dwellers now live as if there is no ultimate reality. “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” 

 Looking above for wisdom, infinitely greater than ours, will give us the clearest view of the future, enhancing whatever perception the past teaches us. While ensuring peace with God to enter eternity with Him is our first priority, persevering with Him through any future storms of this life is also the legacy offered us. Looking forward with Him provides direction and security for this life that no earthly wisdom can, “for the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Corinthian 1:25).

Let’s look back with insight, but look forward with the joy of faith in God that begins by looking up.


  1. Looking forward with God does provide the direction we need in this very complicated world of double and triple messages. Good reminder, Bryan.

  2. It seems so obvious to us now, having looked back, that God and our parents were right all along, but try to tell that to my teenager! Ha ha, it's frustrating, but I guess we were teens once too, and thankfully God kept us, and taught us from our mistakes as well as from His word. I pray the same for our last teenager at home.


  3. Very wise council, Bryan

  4. Bravo, Bryan, for giving us this powerful, well thought-out, and well-written piece. We hurt when our children, grandchildren, and the youth around us decry the guidelines we, in love, offer them. As in every generation, temptations are rampant and our young can easily go through the broad gate that leads to destruction.

    As parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, we pray that these experimenting youth will wake up and remember that the faith their parents shared with them offers a better kind of freedom. They will be less shackled with God as their guide than they are in the throes of the false freedom that pulls them away from their faith.

    I am presently reading Francine River's novel, "Bridges to Haven," which deals with the matter of freedom and running away from the faith of your childhood. She shows how easy and how wrong it is to let sin or someone else be your master. This is a good example of truth in fiction.

    Pam, I too know the pain of children looking for joy and freedom in the wrong places.

  5. That's right, Bryan, and thanks so much for the reminder. I believe that God has the ability to use the strengths of the next generation to meet the unique challenges they face which previous generations never had to deal with. He is all-wise, loveing and faithful. Wishing you continued joy in your writing in 2015!


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