This year seems to be a year of milestones. Nora and I are celebrating 35 years of marriage, Church Investors Fund is celebrating 50 years of ministry, and Creekside Christian Church (my home church) is celebrating 100 years of ministry. It seems we are always remembering some sort of milestone in our lives. We recognize the big things – and hopefully, many wonderful little things. It might be a wedding anniversary, a birthday, a work anniversary, the death of a loved one, the day we faced an addiction, and the list goes on.

We constantly remember something that happened in the past because it impacted our lives – good and bad. We all know we can’t live in the past, but I believe it is essential to remember certain events. It allows us to look back and see how God used these moments – again, both good and bad – to shape us.

Looking back at my 35 years of marriage, I remember the day we were married very fondly. It was in a small church in Eureka, SD, on a beautiful sunny day. Nora was glowing, and I was nervous and excited at the same time. It was a good day. But as I look back at that day, I realize it is so much more than just a good memory. I look back at the years before I met Nora and see how God was preparing even back then. I also look at the many years that followed our wedding day and see that many more events shaped our relationship into what it is today. Our wedding was just the beginning of our journey together. There were countless memories, such as our kids being born, financial trials that would test our faith only to be reassured that God will provide, loss of loved ones, and other celebrations and challenges that would shape us.

If I am honest, I have many trials and challenges I would soon rather forget. I sometimes wish I could go back and do everything a little bit better. I wish I could go back and not be concerned about the “stuff” I thought I needed but ultimately had no meaning. I wish I had saved better or been a little more patient with my wife and kids. I wish. I wish. But we can’t, and we are not meant to.

I believe looking back allows us the opportunity to see how God has been faithful to us over the years and how His love continues to shine down upon us, even when we take our eyes off of Him and succumb to our sinful ways. And if we look back even further before the event that stands out, we often see clues that led up to it. Clues that we now see but missed at the time.

Whether it is our personal lives, jobs, or even the church, we can’t live in the past, and we can’t live in the future, but we can learn from our past, live in the present, and be grateful if He blesses us with tomorrow. No matter, all the glory goes to God.