Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lot's Wife

This morning as part of my chronological trip through scripture in 2011, I read Genesis 19 - the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  And while the story had it's usual vivid images attached to it, what really stood out to me was Lot's wife.

I relate to Lot's wife.

The relevant passages are these: 

This one, where they are commanded to get out and not look back:

Genesis 19:17 (The Message)
When they had them outside, Lot was told, “Now run for your life! Don’t look back! Don’t stop anywhere on the plain—run for the hills or you’ll be swept away.”

And this one, where destruction rains down, and Lot's wife looks back, with rather disastrous consequences:

Genesis 19:24-26 (The Message)
Then God rained brimstone and fire down on Sodom and Gomorrah—a river of lava from God out of the sky!— and destroyed these cities and the entire plain and everyone who lived in the cities and everything that grew from the ground. But Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.

 I think most of the time, we read that, and we think, "What was she stupid?  She'd been clearly warned not to look back.  Maybe she deserved what she got."

But this morning I read that, and thought "I get it."  Her life is in destruction behind her, and only uncertainty stretches ahead.  And yeah, based on the Biblical descriptions, it doesn't sound like Sodom and Gomorrah were all that great as places to make a life, they probably weren't the healthiest places to be, but they were what she knew, and now that life was quite literally in flames.

I feel like Lot's wife sometimes lately.  Eternally frozen in place.  Turned to a pillar of salt.  

Salt.  Have you ever thought of that?  Salt.  Not something lasting like stone.  She didn't become some sort of monument.  Salt.  Easily eroded by wind and rain.  Soon weathered into nothingness.

All because she looked back at a life that probably wasn't even all that healthy or good.

I'm tired, lately, on this journey of healing, and I feel like looking back.

Yeah, it's not that much to look at.  It wasn't healthy, really.  But it was what I knew.  There was a comfort in that.  A comfort in staying in the places that weren't healthy, simply because they seemed less risky than moving into the unknown ahead of me.

I don't want to turn into that pillar of salt, frozen in place, at the mercy of the elements, weathering away slowly to nothing.  

And so this morning, as I read, I felt that slight whisper of resolve.  "Stop looking back.  Look forward.  Trust me."

Yep.  Trust.  Trust Him with the great unknown ahead.

Not an easy next step on this journey of healing, that one word that's mine for 2011. To reorient, away from what's behind me, and towards the new things.  To face forward continually, acknowledging the past, but not being immobilized by it.

But perhaps a necessary step, and one I'm going to throw my being into attempting again, starting today.


From Tracie said...

I have never put much thought into the fact that she was turned to salt, and what that meant.

Unfortunately, I have to admit that I understand her too. Scary though that is. I'm going on that looking forward journey this year too.

Anonymous said...

Your writing, as aways, is excellent. Thanks for your transparency. S.

Lisa said...

Hi Tracie - welcome here. I hadn't thought about what it meant that she was turned to salt until this morning either. Praying for you as you go on that journey this year too.