A Surfing Story--For the New Year

I was face down on a surfboard about half a mile off the beach at Waikiki. I had always wanted to try to ride the Hawaiian surf, but out here among these giant green swells I suddenly didn't feel very adventuresome.

"This is far enough," said the brown-skinned beach boy who had accompanied me on his own board. "Now turn and face the beach. When a wave lifts your board, paddle hard. Then stand up."

Stand up? "Tell me," I croaked, trying to keep the panic out of my voice, "what's the main thing to remember?"

"The main thing?" he repeated with a smile. "Don't look back!"

The next wave lifted the board. Ahead of me a great chasm seemed to open in the sea. The board tilted down and plunged deep into an emerald precipice that seemed almost vertical. I tried to stand up. Behind me, I knew, a million seething tons of saltwater were poised above my head. In that instant I forgot what the beach boy had said-I looked back. ...

Well, I didn't drown. Not quite, anyway. I stayed there, floating in the Pacific while my board went plunging away by itself, until finally I summoned the courage to try again.

I've always remembered what the beach boy said: Don't look back. At past mistakes. At lost opportunities. At hurt feelings. At grievances, real or fancied. No, look forward. Face forward. Concentrate on what lies ahead. That's the main thing to remember.

Lord, as I face the New Year, help me to reach out to the challenging future, not look back to the unchangeable past.

--Arthur Gordon (courtesy of Guideposts)

From the Apostle Paul

--writing from the first century about looking forward and not back

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14 NKJ).

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NKJ).

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13 NKJ).

You cannot be lost to My love. You can never be despised by Me. There's never a fraction of a second that I am not caring for you. There is never a thought in My heart that is unloving toward you, My child whom I love and for whom I would give My life countless times.

Never fear for the future, and do not agonize in remorse over the past. Look up into My loving face. Come unto Me, and you will find perfect strength, perfect love, perfect forgiveness, perfect comfort, from now until the day that I return for you.--Jesus

New Year, leaving the past behind, reaching ahead for goals, heavenly rewards for the right goals.