The Israelites passed down their faith through these sort of rearview mirror narratives. “Look back at what God did for us,” they would tell their children. They would establish monuments known as “standing stones” representative of God’s faithful provision. When their children asked about the rocks they would invite these powerful stories of God’s providential care.
But when you read the Psalms there is a mixture of looking over the dashboard with anxiety coupled with warm memories of mile markers of grace. Maybe you are living with that kind of conflicted outlook. What should you do?
Look back. It’s in the looking back that we can begin to see how those frustrating things that happen to us, around us, even by us, how they are turned into something beautiful. But we usually don’t see that in the moment. We have to look back. And in so doing we can find a little perspective for when we look ahead.
When has God not been faithful? Look back. It’s there where you will find the certainty to trust him in the present. He’s not failed you. He won’t fail you.
Look back. Recount the blessings, all of the blessings, that he has brought out of less than desirable circumstances. It’s how he does things, you know. He brings beauty out of ashes. But we rarely understand it in the moment. It’s lost upon us. Look back.
I think we can apply a rearview mirror theology to our lives when we begin to face the future in light of Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” So, if you are discouraged, frustrated, or doubtful: look back. You will see Providence in the rearview mirror.