I love the Back to the Future films as Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel through time in their tricked-out DeLorean. But the title provides some helpful advice as we try to navigate our way into the future.
Since we can’t see one single nanosecond into the future, we back into the future, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have direction. I love what Philip Yancey writes in the booklet Guidance (Multnomah, 1983):
I had always thought of guidance as forward-looking. We keep praying, hoping, counting on God to reveal what we should do next. In my own experience, at least, I have found the direction to be reversed.
For me, guidance becomes clear only as I look backward. At the moment, my future is a big blur. Guidance becomes evident only when I look back, months and years later. Then the circuitous process falls into place and the hand of God seems clear. But at the moment of decision, I feel mainly confusion and uncertainty
Like Yancey, I have to look back to see the future. Let me chart it out. I’ve done a lot of different things. Everything from performing magic at events to being a hair model at beauty seminars to putting raisins in Raisin Bran to writing and speaking. But there seems to be a trajectory, a linear pattern.
Writing and speaking keep showing up throughout my life. So, as I back into the future, I can line up where I seem to be headed by the stakes of the past.
Not looking forward does not mean not moving. It simply acknowledges we can’t see the future. But by looking back at what seems to have worked in the past and the presentand which God seems to be blessingwe can move forward in the right direction, even if we can’t see what’s ahead. So keep your back to the futurebut keeping moving!
God’s will is not lost: for those trying to find it