It was our first date and I had decided I was going to marry him. He ordered (delicious) soup for me and opened the car door when I got in and when I got out. I wanted to impress him but I choked on my words as I tried to come up with something less desperate than “Elope or have a wedding?”
Because that’s not always a good first date plan.
His eyes lit up as he shared a story he had heard about a little girl at church who had drawn a picture, and he just knew I would get a kick out of it as well.
“So, you know Lot’s wife?”
Clearly Lot was a friend I hadn’t met yet. I put on my best, “I’m sure I do. Give me a minute…” face and nodded for him to continue.
Was that the guy in Sunday school? Was he on the retreat? Lot. No, I would remember meeting a guy named Lot.
“Well her teacher tells her to draw a picture of what happened to Lot’s wife and she drew a salt shaker.”
He started laughing.
I laughed too, and shook my head side to side. Those crazy kids.
“Oh, that is great! How funny.” I bit my lip and tried to think of a good follow-up condiment story.
“So, Lot…” I just kind of threw it out there. I figured I would give him some room to fill me in on the backstory.
“Yeah, you know, from Genesis? The one who left Sodom and Gomorrah?”
Awesome. Thanks for clearing that up.
Note to self: find Precious Moments Bible that is somewhere in my apartment and find out who Sodom and Gomorrah are.
I nodded again, filling my mouth with pasta so I wouldn’t have to drop any more pearls of wisdom before the second date.
A few hours later I found my little Bible and hunted down this Lot guy. He’s umm, an interesting fellow, and reading about him next to images of Precious Moments figurines has got to be one of the strangest experiences a new believer can have. Seriously creeptastic.
With that said, I did find it pretty interesting. The gist of it is that Abraham is trying to save Sodom (Sodom and Gomorrah are places, not people. Also good to know for date number two) and kind of negotiates with God about it. This deserves a whole post of it’s own, but let’s come back to that some other day. Anyway, he works out a plan with God that if there are 10 righteous men in Sodom, God will not destroy it. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and God sends two angels to warn Abraham and his nephew Lot to get out of town before this happens. Lot tries to warn his sons-in-law but they thought he was joking and apparently didn’t listen. It says in Genesis 19:16 that Lot hesitated, so the angels grabbed his and his wife’s hands and led them out of the city.
As soon as they were safe, the angels said to them, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” Lot tells them he wants to go to another town instead. And guess what? It isn’t in the mountains, it’s in the plains. God wants Lot to go to one place, and he believes his idea is better than God’s. I read this and shake my head because that just sounds silly to me.
Well, as silly as it can sound to someone who does the same almost every day of her life.
So Lot and his bride head towards Zoar (which was called Bela before this incident), and as they do, Lot’s wife makes a critical mistake.
She looks back.
She looks at back at the city filled with sin and wickedness, and as she pauses, God turns her into a pillar of salt (the salt shaker thing is way funnier now).
We don’t ever learn her name, but her legacy is one of looking back. She has been rescued from death, from sin and depravity, and there is something that still haunts her enough to stop moving toward whatever is ahead.
Did she want to see if it would really be ruined? Maybe she wanted to see her things one more time. Was she longing for a person? Reflecting on the life she wanted to keep living?
I don’t know, but I do know this.
God has been gracious with me for many years in my turning back. A glimpse of what could have been, a temptation that makes me question my faith. An earth-shattering loss that beckons me to believe that the mountain is too far and the valley will be just fine.
I have wandered to the closest city while I know He desires for me to climb, and I have settled there for longer than I care to remember. I have failed Him many times over, head and heart turned, and yet He urges me never to settle. I don’t know what you are walking away from tonight, but as I have been praying about what to write the Lord has put this message on my heart so clearly that I had to share it. I want you to know I am praying for you as I write-asking the Lord to remind you tonight that there is a reason you have left that life behind.
It has been swallowed by grace, friend. And you need not miss what He has for you by believing there is something worth going back for. Leave it be. The Lord has told you where to go and it’s time to walk. Eyes straight ahead, tangled in the spectacular love of a Savior Who wants nothing less for you than the summit. And as you stare at what might have been, you are immobilized, unable to bring Him the glory He deserves. And also, He might make you salt. Just saying.
It has been almost exactly ten years from the night I went out with Todd for the first time. October will mark a decade of falling in love with the man who has given me five daughters and many, many more dates. No matter how many times we sit together over a meal, I will never forget the first one. The heart-fluttering, life-altering, dream-come-true night when I learned about a woman who loved in the wrong direction.
I still get confused about Bible references. I am the farthest thing from a Bible scholar that could be possible. I can’t tell you the Hebrew and Greek roots of words, nor every battle of the Bible or city mentioned in scripture. What I do feel confident saying is actually pretty simple.
He is Who He says He is, and He is whispering tonight if you care to listen…
“Flee, love. Flee and never look back…”