8 Min Read

Glass & Mirrors

Published on

May 13, 2024

Photo by Cole Freeman on Unsplash

Acommon phrase used in attempts to describe life is “Life is like a Journey,” and one of the most common means of transportation in the world today is driving cars — accounting for over 50% of all passenger travel. Cars come in different shapes, sizes, colours, models and prices. In the severe absence of purchasing ability, there’s always the good ol’ “Legediz Benz” (i.e. walking with your “legs”). Regardless of the differences in cars, certain parts remain standard and would likely remain so for the foreseeable future; like the steering wheels, the tyres (cause “rubber must hit the road”), the rearview and side mirrors, amongst others, each having their function. Driving, like life is a dynamic experience, posing twists and turns, requiring focus, responsibility and patience — especially for Lagos roads and Life in Lagos, because “nothing wey Musa no go see for gate”.

A journey is about moving forward, literally and figuratively, while being mindful of where you’ve been but not to the detriment of where you are going. While I was learning to drive a couple years back I used to make the mistake of spending too much time glancing at the mirrors, checking my sides and rearview mirrors very frequently — those learning jitters where you feel and second-guess every move. I recall receiving stern warnings about the dangers of focusing on the mirrors, which showed me what was behind while losing sight of the glass, which showed me what was in front. Yes, the mirrors were important, (and flashy, imagine walking around with eyes behind your head 😁), but they were not as important as the glass; the road ahead of me.

In the journey of life, it’s easy to get caught up in looking backwards, dwelling on flashy past mistakes, hurts, and missed opportunities. But the essence of growth lies in moving forward, in focusing on the promise of what lies ahead rather than being anchored by the weight of the past.

One of the examples of moving forward can be found in the life of Peter. Despite denying Jesus three times, Peter didn’t let his past failures define him. Jesus, seeing beyond Peter’s mistakes, restored him and entrusted him with the future of the church. I think we, sometimes, gloss over the fact that Jesus literally left the early church under the leadership of one who had denied Him point blank, three times, after everything they had been through.

Another biblical figure who exemplifies moving forward is Paul. Despite his past as a persecutor of Christians, Paul embraced his new identity in Christ and pressed on toward the goal. In Philippians 3:13–14, he writes,

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

In contrast, we have Lot’s wife, who became infamous for looking back as she and her family fled from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Her inability to let go of the past led to her becoming a pillar of salt, serving as a stark warning against the dangers of clinging to what is behind. She had started on a journey with Lot and her daughters, figuratively speaking; she had put her hand on the plow but looked back. The Israelites, or should I say mixed multitude, while journeying in the desert had a similar perspective. In Numbers 11, we see they kept recalling the “fish, cucumbers, melons, onions” and sweet nothings of Egypt more than they focused on the promised land ahead of them, leading to discontent, murmurings and strife.

Photo by Richard Bell on Unsplash

We can learn two lessons from these biblical examples;

Firstly, the past does not define us, no matter how many times we’ve stumbled, how we’ve been hurt or cheated, no matter the “life that lifed” or the things that happened to you, or how deep regrets may be, there is always hope for the future, for growth, for a fresh start. Do not become a snowman, frozen in the place of past hurt or regrets. One of the tests of righteousness is not necessarily the absence of falls but the ability to get up each time. The wicked on the other hand stumble into ruin (Proverbs 24:16).

Secondly, there is a purpose and a plan for each of us, regardless of our past. Focusing on this, the future, the promise, the hope, is a propeller. We fix our eyes on Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.

Just as in driving, we too must navigate life moving forward literally figuratively, adapting to changing conditions; whether it’s adjusting to traffic, overcoming obstacles, or avoiding that driver whose ownership of a driving license is questionable. As we steer through life’s highways this week, remember that the road ahead is full of precious promises, waiting for us to explore.

Itoro Nehemiah

IG/Twitter: @_it0r0

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