In our house, I offer a dollar for every scripture that my children memorize. Of course, they have found John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” But an equally short scripture and one that they have not found is the little gem found in the seventeenth chapter of Luke verse 32, where Jesus cautions, “Remember Lot’s wife.” What did the Savior mean in this intricate phrase?
It helps to take a minute to remember who is Lot and who was his wife?
If we go back to the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord was unpleased with His children who acted wickedly. Lot was told to take his family and leave the city because it would be destroyed. “Escape for thy life,” the Lord cautioned, “look not behind thee . . . ; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed” (Genesis 19:17).
Elder Holland states, “With less than immediate obedience and more than a little negotiation, Lot and his family ultimately did leave town, but just in the nick of time. The scriptures tell us what happened at daybreak the morning following their escape:
The Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities. [Genesis 19:24–25]
Surely, surely, with the Lord’s counsel “look not behind thee” ringing clearly in her ears, Lot’s wife, the record says, “looked back,” and she was turned into a pillar of salt.”
Although there are many gospel lessons that could be taken from this story. I love the ideas and insights from Elder Holland about looking back instead of ahead.
I have fallen in love with yoga. The first time I took it a lady at the church offered free classes. I remember her saying, “There is no competition.” Well maybe this moment, I granted her…but in the real world… everything is… But as I kept coming back, I realized no competition is a perception. A thought that I believed and wasn’t real. It was my reality. There was no happiness and joy in that reality and so I changed it. I had to repeat the mantra many times… but now I believe it. Changing this idea makes me a better mother, friend, creator, and daughter.
Another truth I learned in Yoga was, Be Present. Do not regret what is gone… do not worry what will come… live right now. Be in this moment. In this moment you are enough and live gratefully now. Thanking yourself, your body and your God for this precious moment. I realized how much I lived in my past and future.
One purpose of recording history is to learn. George Santayana…is best known for saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (Reason in Common Sense, vol. 1 of The Life of Reason [1905–1906]).
Every Remembrance Day we have a decreased number of vets present. This year as we made our way to the cenotaph my daughter was complaining. “Why do we have to go to this thing?” I stopped her mid walking and I said, “I am sorry that you have to take 40 minutes out of your day to remember those who gave up their lives for your freedom to attend.” I said it harsher than I meant… and I apologized. Lest We Forget… never rang truer. We remember the past to not make the same mistakes. But we live now and hope for great futures. When past lessons are learned and applied to new living our potential for joy can only increase.
With Lot’s wife and with myself it isn’t just looking back that is the problem. It is the false idea of thinking the past holds anything better than living now or the future can bring.
Elder Holland states, “So it isn’t just that she looked back; she looked back longingly. In short, her attachment to the past outweighed her confidence in the future. That, apparently, was at least part of her sin.”
Are you ever tempted to think your best moments are gone. Your real beauty was years ago? The joy that was found years ago will never be matched. Don’t limit God. If you know that He has asked you to leave… whatever place, situation, or idea trust that He wants you to have a fulness of joy. It might mean making changes… but don’t look back… trust that the best is yet to be!
This is a link to Jeffery R Holland ‘s talk that I quoted and based many of my thoughts on for this article.