I really like this parallel. When you row, you are facing “backwards” in order to go forward. Sounds opposite to what actually works. Isn’t that just like God – doing it HIS way is opposite to YOUR way.Do we really have a destiny from God? Absolutely. And though He has chosen not to share all of it with us up front—the Hebrew word achariyth conveys the concept of backing into the future, like a person rowing a boat—rest assured God has wonderful plans for you, plans for good, not evil (see Jeremiah 29:11).
While pondering this quote, I got this picture:
God has planned everything for your journey. He extends an invitation to you to launch out.
It looks simple enough. With a little practice, you learn how to get around – going out a little further each time. Soon you are quite comfortable with the oars and you glide across the water with ease.
With your new found confidence, you have convinced yourseIf, I can take care of myself. I will venture out and explore the land. At first, all goes well; however without a map to give you directions, you are soon lost. Not knowing where to go, you pull up onto the shore and cry out, Oh God. Help me find my way back home.
Of course, He will. He ALWAYS hears our cries to Him. He has promised to NEVER leave us or forsake us. He KEEPS His promises. He picks you up and returns you safely home. You learn to read His directions and ask for His guidance.
How quickly we forget past difficulties in times of peace. Self-confidence rises up again and you dream of launching out again. This time you head for deep waters. Again you convince yourself, I am more mature now. I can handle the challenge. It will be fine. I deserve some excitement!!
I will launch out into the deep and explore on my own. I can do it! The waters change. The farther away from the safety of the shore, the rougher the waters get. You never had to deal with waves like these while inshore.
The thrill is exhilarating!
WOW. It’s the ride of a lifetime and you have accomplished it on your own merit!! You are so proud of your success. But there is a rude awakening coming.
You have ventured into uncharted waters. In your enthusiasm, you have traveled beyond the scope of your map. Unprepared for the magnitude of what you are now facing, you become shipwrecked.
How did you end up in this position again? Why didn’t you ask for assistance before you went blindly into uncharted waters? How can you explain this mess that is completely a direct consequence of your actions? Will God still answer your cry for help? Will He still rescue you or will He punish you for your foolish choices?
You ponder for a long time as you stand on the shore – desperately wishing you weren’t in this dilemma, but knowing there is no one to transfer the blame to. You have the same choice to make that we all face every day: Do I try to continue in your own strength and somehow “make it right” OR do I cry out to God for mercy, ask for His forgiveness, and allow Him to guide you back to your original path to continue His journey for you.
He will answer you. He LONGS to restore you to the path He has planned for you. Why shouldn’t He? It is tailored just for you!! He offers you another chance – another invitation to continue the journey. This time you are wiser. You ask HIM to come along with you.
You are back in the row boat, but here is the difference. As you face backwards, you are looking directly into Jesus’ face as He travels with you. He gives you direction and you will always reach His destination for you.
Here’s the bonus. HE sees what is coming and gently guides you to avoid the dangers along the way. Your focus is on HIM and not the circumstances ahead. Like Peter, you can be distracted when the storms come, start to panic and act on your own. With your focus on Him, He’ll guide you through in calm waters or storms. Trust Him. HE knows your destination!!