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Forward or Backward?

My daughter and I attended a concert together recently. It was an absolute joy to have some mother and daughter time in light of our busy schedules. We ate, laughed, and sang the night away. Delight filled my soul as I pulled out of the parking garage to head home. But then, a loud thud and jolt brought us back to reality as the car behind me ran into my vehicle. The other driver ran up to apologize and explained he was looking backward instead of forward to see if the car behind would hit him, so he did not see me stop.

Forward and Backward looking faith

After a moment, we pulled off to the side of the area and exchanged all the insurance information. The man again admitted the accident was his fault. Then we checked the damages, and I got a picture of both cars. Finally, we headed home in a more somber mood than when we started the evening. No one was injured, and the damages were inconvenient but minor.  

As I dealt with the insurance company the following day, I kept thinking about the man’s comment about looking backward instead of forward. Soon, my thoughts took me to how I could apply this lesson to my faith. Which is more important for my faith, looking backward or forward?

Backward Looking


I remember the quote by an unknown author that says, “The past is like using your rearview mirror in the car, it’s good to glance back and see how far you have come, but if you stare too long, you will miss what right in front of you.” I think the driver who hit me can attest to this fact. We can see Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as He died for our sins when we glance back. Additionally, I believe it is essential to our faith to take a backward glance to see God’s fingerprints all over our lives as He has kept us and protected us from harm. 


If we dwell in the past, we can become stuck spiritually, longing for something that is no longer beneficial to us. As a result, we might fail to see all the things Christ brings to us that are better than the things we left behind. The Bible also warns us about looking back for the wrong reasons:

  • Luke 9:62 (ESV) – Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
  • Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV) – “18 Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
  • Genesis 19:26 (ESV) – “But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.”

Forward Looking


Looking out the front windshield allows us to see what is coming. We should look forward with excitement and expectation of seeing God fulfill His promises and how He will use us to further His kingdom. A forward looking faith considers the potential of a Godly adventure and is willing to go anywhere they are led by Christ. Looking forward in faith gives us a Godly purpose. And we look forward to our eternity spent with our Savior in Heaven. The Bible encourages us to look forward with our faith:

  • Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
  • Philippians 1:6 (ESV) – “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
  • Revelation 21:3 (ESV) – “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”


It took me some thought and research to find any cons with a forward looking faith. When we spend our faith life only looking towards our future with God, we can miss out on the opportunities God provides. Also, our faith calls us to be active participants in sharing the Gospel, and if we are too busy planning our eternity, we fail in that purpose. Christians don’t get to skip all the living that needs to happen between birth and eternity. 

Summary for Forward or Backward?

In summary, let me share a quote from Lisa Appelo that sums up my thoughts; “Look Back to Thank God; Look Forward to Trust God.” Too much time spent in the past or spending all our time waiting for Heaven causes us to miss out on living a daily life of faith. God needs our participation in this life. 


Prayer for a Forward looking faith

Heavenly Father. Thank You for calling me heavenward in Christ. Please forgive me for the times I look back at my old life with wishful thinking and distract me from following Jesus. Please help me accept the challenges of the life of faith, trusting You to guide me and use me as You choose – for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. JD Wininger

    Amen Ms. Yvonne. A gentlemen I’m learning with through discipleship once said, “There’s a reason the rearview mirror is so small and the windshield is so large. What does this tell us about where our focus needs to be.” Enjoyed ma’am; what a great analogy your experience created.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Thanks JD. I always want to look towards God. Amen and God bless

  2. Jeannie Waters

    Your post brims with wisdom, Yvonne. I especially like this: “Look Back to Thank God; Look Forward to Trust God.” Balance is important.

  3. Yvonne Morgan

    Balance is very important in looking back and forward. But, the most important place to look is to Jesus. Thanks Jeannie and God bless

  4. Annie Yorty

    Great thoughts, Yvonne, on how to balance our perspective. Thank you!

  5. Jennifer

    My husband was a pastor for 25+ years in a few churches. Some churches kept saying we want things to be like they were (fill-in the blank). The churches that were more forward focused were much healthier. To watch that helped me. Like you said take what we learn from the past and let it help us in the future. Great post.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      That is a great example Jennifer. Thanks for sharing. God bless

  6. Ava Pennington

    So good. Living in the present is how we glorify God!

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Yes it is. Thanks so much Ava and God bless.

  7. Jessica Brodie

    I’m often guilty of looking ahead too much that I miss out on today, so I’ve been working to rest in the present moment. But you are right that we must press onward, not look back… keep our eye on the Lord and what is to come, not focus on the days of old. I love those verses from Isaiah 43:18-19, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      I love that verse from Isaiah too. And it is easy to look too much ahead as we want the troubles of this world to end. But, God has us here for a reason so we need to live in the day. Thanks Jessica and God bless.

  8. This is admonition, Yvonne, to keep our eyes and minds on the goodness of answered prayers to come. We are not to focus on disappointments or harms of the fast, but we are to press onward and forward toward Jesus.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Thanks Melinda. We are to live daily as we focus our eyes on Jesus. God bless.

  9. This is an encouraging post, Yvonne. Keeping our eyes and heart fastened forward is far more productive and effective.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      It really does matter to our relationship with Christ. Thanks Melinda and God bless.

  10. Barbara Latta

    It’s so important we learn to look forward. Paul said he pressed toward the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ. Our prize is in front of us. Backward is only for learning from our mistakes. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Thanks Barbara. We were made for such a time as this so we must continue to look to Christ. God bless.

  11. Lisa Quintana

    I hope that your car gets repaired soon! Thank goodness it wasn’t too bad. And look how God used this accident in your life? He gave you more wisdom and you shared it with us. Thank you!

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Thanks Lisa. It is scheduled to go into the shop next week. Praying it won’t take too long. God bless

  12. Craig Ruhl

    Great reminder. Well worth book-marking and reviewing frequently.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Thanks Craig. I appreciate your comments. God bless.

  13. Linda Sammaritan

    I loved this angle on where we should focus. “Look Back to Thank God; Look Forward to Trust God.”

  14. Katherine Pasour

    There’s so much to ponder and reflect on in your message. Thank you for the challenge. I think it’s important to learn from what happened in the “back” (our past experiences), but I agree wholeheartedly that we shouldn’t dwell in the past because that robs us of the joy of today. We have to look forward to know where we are going. Thank you for this inspiring message.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Thanks Katherine. I’ve known some that want to return to their old ways of life after facing difficulties in their faith walk. The life of faith can be hard but we keep pressing on. Good bless

  15. Amen. We can learn from our mistakes. But, I always want to look forward to the resting arms of God. Great message.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Amen Melissa. Living in the moment while looking forward to resting in God. Thanks Melissa and God bless.

  16. karentfriday

    Yvonne, this is such a good analogy. Once my dad rear-ended a vehicle on an entry ramp onto the highway because he was looking back too long. Your pros and cons are eye-openers. Thank you!

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      I hope he was okay. These events always disrupt our lives. When the other driver said that he was looking back, it almost immediately popped into my head to write about this. Love when God uses our interruptions to teach us. God bless

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