Notes from the church lady: Faith in God means looking ahead

“No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”. Luke 9:62

Lately I notice a preoccupation with memories of a series of incidents that occurred during the month of September ten years ago. They include the death of my grandmother only one week after my birthday. In fact, she had a major stroke on the day of my birthday. I learned of this devastating news shortly after our little dog, my precious friend of 16 years died in my arms. Talk about a birthday you want to forget!

Saying goodbye to Grandma at the cemetery brought back clearly the memories of my Grandpa’s funeral in 1967. It was cold and snowing hard and yet I refused to leave my Grandpa. My parents had to make me go to the car.

In addition to these events there were others during that month which changed my life forever. I wanted to hold on to the hurt and bitterness, but realized it wasn’t worth even thinking about it. Instead, I watched in amazement of the way God took those events and helped me to emerge as the person I am today.

I dreaded the arrival of the month of September this year and wanted to skip ahead to October. Instead, I decided I would focus my efforts on others and allow God to use me to help others. I never dreamed how the Lord would take that request and multiply it over and over. Each day God puts someone in my path and then provides a smile, encouraging word, or helping hand through me. It is certainly not through my efforts this happens, but by being willing to allow God to use me. Every time someone comments on a column I remind them it comes from God and I am the messenger.

Jesus gave the disciples power and authority and then sent them out to “preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick”, with no provisions to take with them. Everywhere they went, the Lord went on ahead and provided for all of their needs. As a result, many people were reached with the Good News of Jesus.

Not everyone was willing to give up this world and follow Jesus. In Luke 9:57, 59-62 we read the responses from others: “ And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house”.

Although on the surface these responses seem valid, they were still excuses of not being willing to follow Jesus. These people lacked the faith or the will and allowed the world to come before their relationship with Jesus.

Ten years ago I struggled between two worlds that of Satan with anger, grief, and bitterness and of Jesus with faith, trust, and letting go of what was lost. This month, I was once again faced with the decision of looking back to what was or ahead. For me to truly be useful to God I must always look ahead and being willing to do what Jesus asks of me.

Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at:

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