The Bright Side: Onward and upward

Published 4:43 pm Friday, August 18, 2023

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“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis

Genesis 19 talks about Lot and his wife. They had just fled Sodom and Gomorrah; God was about to destroy the two cities but, in His grace, allowed the two to escape. His instructions were clear: “Run for your lives! Don’t look behind you or stop anywhere in the valley.” Destruction and chaos took its toll behind the family as they fled. For one member, it was too tempting not to look back …

Lot’s wife did not heed God’s word; she looked back “longingly” behind her, and as a result, God turned her into a pillar of salt. Later on, we read in Luke 17:32 Christ’s words: “Remember Lot’s wife.” For Jesus to have mentioned this woman, it must have been for a reason, and an important reason at that.

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It was not the actions of Lot’s wife that had her turned into salt, but her lack of faith in God. She sought to save her own life by grasping at the past, but in turn lost her life by not trusting that God would take care of her wherever they were heading. The fear of what lie ahead kept Lot’s wife from trusting that had bigger, better plans for her and her family.

I struggle with this “longing” for the past regularly. When things don’t go the way I had hoped they would, tensions are high and/or the world just seems to be working against me, I think about what it was like before: before I was an adult and had a plethora of responsibilities, before financial hardships hit, before people grew older, before I had to make life-changing decisions more often than I had hoped …

Sometimes I think about what it would be like to have the chance and change things I’ve done in the past. What if I hadn’t lost touch with that friend? What if I hadn’t moved? What if I didn’t turn down that job offer? All these things leave my head spinning and, at the end of the day, get me nowhere.

There’s a reason we can’t go back to the past. Like C.S. Lewis said, there are far better things ahead, and he’s right. If we trust that God has store much more in store for us, and put our faith in Him making our dream and goals a reality, we will see the light that lies ahead and run towards it. Since I’ve begun to look forward to unknown opportunities that will come when the time is right, I’ve noticed myself not focusing on the past as much as I used to. When I write down my monthly goals in my planner, I believe that they will come to fruition. And nine times out of 10, they do.

The other day, my husband and I were talking about the things we’ve achieved when there was no one else around to believe in us and help us see it through. When we set our minds to something, we dive in head first and just keep swimming. I thought about all the times I had no idea what the future would bring, but had faith that, if nothing else, God would help clear the way for wonders. These dreams would unfold before my eyes and at the end, all I could do was look up and say “Thank you.”

Something I haven’t told anyone is the response I received from God each and every time this would happen: “Hold onto your faith.” That is all He asks of us. To keep our faith, use it as our shield, take it into battle, and never lose sight of what He is calling us towards. I can promise you it’s not in the past, so don’t look back.

In my junior year high school, I had a pre-calculus teacher named Mr. Weckel. He was rough around the edges, but had the most tender of hearts. After each of our math lessons, he would always say, “Onward and upward, to bigger and better things.” It’s hard for me to run some numbers through my calculator without thinking about those words. Now, that’s how I look at every lesson in life, every day that serves as a page in my chapter book: Better things are ahead. God’s got you. Keep going!

Danielle Puleo is a staff writer for The Coastland Times. Reach her at