No turning back

Daylight Savings time always messes up my internal clock, and it doesn't help when we stay up too late instead of making allowances for it. But we suffer through a week of yawning and extra caffeine and are eventually really glad that it stays light longer and the days don't feel so short. We're springing forward toward sunshine and melting snow and whatever God has for us in life. No turning back (until fall when I really enjoy that extra hour of sleep!) But I digress. The real point of the title of this post is about a different kind of turning back. There are a lot of ways we can turn away from something instead of going forward. I remember as a little girl, I was a flower girl in a wedding and I was so nervous I nearly turned back and ran down the aisle the other way. I didn't. But I wanted to!

I often wish I could turn the clock back to younger days when I didn't fight with daily pain, or when the kids were small and life was simpler. But clocks don't go backward, no matter how much we might try, even with DST coming around each year.

abc04Not turning back takes commitment. It's a decision to stick with it or stay the course. As Mandisa sings in her song, "Overcomer", "Stay in the fight 'til the final round." We are not to shrink back from life. And as Christians we follow in the footsteps of our Rabbi Jesus. We stay so close, the dust of His sandals should cling to us.

Years ago, we used to sing a song that they had us sing in church today. It's not as old as a hymn, but it has become classic in Christian circles. "I Have Decided" is the title. And it is from these words of commitment that this post springs. They are simple, a chorus actually, that says:

"I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back.

Though none go with me, still I will follow. Though none go with me, still I will follow. Though none go with me, still I will follow. No turning back. No turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me. The world behind me, the cross before me. The world behind me, the cross before me. No turning back. No turning back."

As we sang those familiar words, I thought about what the pastor said about letting go of everything, like the first disciples did. (They left their nets, their businesses, their families to follow Jesus.) He talked about the day he let go of his dreams - jumping into this faith with both feet - to let the Rabbi's dust cling to him. And I wondered...have I done that?

IMG_0996People who know me might think I have achieved all of my dreams, but that's not true. I have been blessed in many ways, but the deepest, greatest dreams in my heart still wait. Could I let them go to follow the Lord, even if I "none go with me"? Would I follow Jesus even if it meant losing everything?

And I realized in that moment - even though I've made this commitment to follow Jesus in the past - life is a daily thing and commitments sometimes need refreshing and renewing. It is a hard thing to follow. It is even harder to follow when you don't know where the journey will lead. But we do know the final destination.

The journey may move the clock forward an hour and spring me forward into a new adventure. Or it may move me to a place I do not want to go. The Scriptures are filled with stories of men and women who were called to follow and what that cost them. Abraham and Sarah left everything to go to a land that God would show them. Rahab took a leap of faith to save herself and her family, not knowing if the God she was trusting was even real. But Lot's wife had to be dragged from a city set for destruction and she turned back - perhaps because she couldn't bear to leave it - perhaps for reasons we will never know.

The world is a beautiful place in so many ways, and a dark place in many others. "The world behind me" doesn't mean we step out of reality and live in la-la land. It just means that the light is better than the darkness. And the cross is worth the sacrifice of anything the world has to offer. Even our fondest dreams.

So yes, I have decided, once again, to follow Jesus. Though none go with me, though it cost me everything, still I will follow.

No turning back from wherever God leads.