Looking Back While Going Forward

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:13–14, KJV)


 Our lives slip by so quickly, and often we are unthankful for all the blessings God has granted us in the past. We are filled with life as it happens today, either good or bad, as selfish people. But for God’s people to look back fills them with sorrow and at the same time rejoicing. How can this be? “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God” (Ps. 40:2–3a). Though filled with thanksgiving for God’s gracious and merciful lovingkindness, we sorrow because of our sin against such a good and merciful God. Because of God’s faithfulness in the past, we trust his word to never leave or forsake the works of his hand. Not only looking to the past for strength for the future, but now in time he is the same. The love of God is so great that even in this life all things work together for our good (see Rom. 8:28–39).

O, give the Lord wholehearted praise, to Him thanksgiving I will bring;

With all His people I will raise my voice and of His glory sing.

His saints delight to search and trace His mighty works and wonderous ways;

Majestic glory, boundless grace, and righteousness His work displays.

God’s promises shall forever stand, He cares for those who trust His word;

Upon His saints His mighty hand the wealth of nations has conferred.

In reverence and in godly fear man finds the gate to wisdom’s ways;

The wise His holy Name revere; through endless ages sound His praise.

(Psalter 304:1, 2, 4, and 7)

The apostle Paul wrote,

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

(Phil. 4:4–8)


Mr. Cornelius VanKempen known as Case, has been married to Susan for fifty-four blessed years. They attend and are members of Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, MI.