If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.
Hebrews 11:15 ESV
Where there’s a will there’s a way. This common expression usually describes an individual whose tenacity propels them forward regardless of the hardships or seemingly impossible odds. Sometimes it’s a determined child getting into that secret stash of candy. Other times it’s an adult who beats the odds to overcome poverty, addiction, or abuse. In essence, the concept of this saying is if we’re determined to do something, we will find a way to do it.
Yet it was as I read the above verse in Hebrews the other day that I saw the latter saying applied to a lack of faith. The verse basically states, “Where there’s a will to go back, there’s a way to go back.”
Think about it. Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the faith hall of fame. We read of Abel, of Noah, of Abraham. We read about how each one trusted God even when he did not understand or he could not see the promise. We read that when God told them something, they moved forward into that promise and didn’t look back. Abel didn’t give God a haphazard, thoughtless offering. Noah didn’t long for the days when he wasn’t being ridiculed for building an ark in the blazing sun. Abraham didn’t continually look upon on his homeland longingly and pray God would send him back to his family. He didn’t wish Isaac had never been born as he walked up the hill of sacrifice. No. Each man of faith moved forward with their eyes fixed on the Promise Keeper. Each knew that if God called him out of the boat, then who was he to keep looking back in? Who were they to question the why, the when, and the how when they knew the who? They knew to look back was to go back.
And that’s the message I read in Hebrews 11:15. If we continually look back to where we came from, we’ll find a way to return there. When we doubt what God has promised us, or when we doubt the way He is leading us, we will also find the excuses not to go forward and the path that leads us back to where we came from. We will find the way back to the familiar, to the old, and to the past if we look for it.
Yet we must remember what once was is not where we are going. We must remember God doesn’t call us back; He calls us forward.
Before I moved to where I am now, I lived in another area for almost 20 years. I went to college there. I got my first full time job there. I had deep, personal relationships with many there. God transformed me there. It truly was my community–a place I felt safe and secure.
Then God called me out. He called me away from the familiar. He called me out of my comfort zone. He called me to where I am now. Of course, I confess, the move wasn’t easy. I wasn’t actively seeking a way to stay, but if my husband had suddenly come to me and said he’d found a better job that enabled us to remain in the comfort of familiarity, I would have jumped for joy. But he didn’t. So we moved.
And I am glad we did. I’m glad we moved forward. I’m glad we didn’t keep looking back. And I don’t want to go back. Because God’s promises for us are here, not there. Sure, I miss the closeness of those I love in Lynchburg, but I wouldn’t trade the closeness of man for the closeness of God. For you see, by moving away from home, I moved closer to God.
Of course, don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying you need to move out of town to find God. But I am saying you need to go where he calls you when he calls you and do what he calls you when he calls you.
And don’t look back.
Keep looking forward, my friend. Keep looking up. Keep looking at the author and finisher of your faith. For when your eyes are fixed on Him, you will not only see Him, but also your faith in Him will move you forward–forward into the promises of God.
For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV