Don’t Look Back

“Do not look back,” was the command of the angels to Lot and his family as they fled Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:17).

There’s actually more to the story than this, but let’s grab the lead line here because we all do it. Poor Lot’s wife did, and just like that she was turned into a pillar of salt! Out in the desert she was…becoming salt-lick…just like that!

It became evident throughout our years of marriage that I had a tendency to sort of be like Sarah, Lot’s wife. As the years go by, my husband enjoys the process of moving forward. I drive him completely bonkers when I begin meandering through our past wondering what things would have been like had we only done this…or that. For me, it’s fun. For him, it paralyzes from appreciating the here and now.

Curiosity kills the cat is a line we’ve all heard from time to time. Perhaps Sarah was just curious? After all, who could blame her? There was a lot going on and no doubt she left behind not only her friends but lots of stuff. Was she cranking her neck to make sure those whom she’d held a grudge against were getting their due? Was she sad she couldn’t have taken the whole “lot” no pun intended…with her? Who knows? Maybe she was like my mom who loved to get up in the middle of the night and follow the fire trucks once the alarm had sounded. Compassionate, kind she was, but she couldn’t resist the urge to crank her car in the direction of the action.

I always figured deep down that Sarah was dangling somewhere down the line upon our family tree. Truth-be-told, I think we all have a little bit of Sarah within us.

I awakened early one morning and made my way downstairs to my journal. Soon, I began writing down The Ten Commandments in order to see if I could remember them.

Four times I wrote them before getting them in the correct order.

As I stared at each one, one stood out. It was the first one. “I am the Lord your God. You shall not have any false gods before Me” (Ex. 20:3).

As I paused, I listened and instantly knew what had been asked of me and that I had not been obedient in it.

You see, like most, I was prodded to get off social media for a season. For the past two weeks, I’d wrestled with the clear message that I was to take a bit of a break. And, each time I wrestled, I posted something positive, extended greetings to another who needed encouragement, and justified my use of it.

However, this morning, I was convicted and needed to obey. I quickly posted a note about taking a sabbatical for a time and that was that. Until…

I heard a ting here…took a peek there…a click of a button…and within moments I realized I was looking back just like Sarah, Lot’s wife. Not only frozen was I, but sort idol building if you will…placing something other than He in front of me as a distraction.

What will I learn from this time away? I am not sure. I only know that it’s about the obedience. It’s about His desire to restore us to His heart which is contrite. It’s about allowing Him to fill and heal us in areas we don’t even know we need it.

I’ve chosen to trust. I pray when I do turn, it will be back to Him so He will direct my path. Amen.

Kathleen Kjolhaug, OblSB

This article was first published in Theology in the Trenches, a column written by oblate Kathleen Kjolhaug. Posted with permission. Read more articles on her blog, Theology in the Trenches.

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