Months ago now, my husband and I took a vacation. Every detail of each day may not be remembered, but one experience has remained permanently etched in my memory.
We took a catamaran excursion one day. The man who hosted the ride was friendly, gregarious, and kept us entertained with his lively conversation. Towards the end of our time, he shared the words which hit me deeply that day and have stuck like glue.
There was no need to jot them down as I knew I would never forget those four words. This week I needed the reminder, the charge so to speak, to keep moving and not get stuck in negative thoughts. As I spent time, thinking about each word, encouragement and hope filled my soul.
- Upward. The word can be defined as moving to a higher point or a higher position. In Proverbs 15:24 we are told, “The path of life leads upward for the wise; they leave the grave behind.” Our eyes are to be set on things above, seeking God’s will and purposes in which we will find life, both in the now and in the future.
- Onward. This is a continuing toward a point ahead or in front of us. It is a forward movement. It was with this word, I found myself humming the old song, “Onward Christian Soldiers.” Years of having sung it each morning of VBS have ingrained every word in my mind … “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war”; “Onward then, ye people join our happy throng”; “Christ the royal master, leads against the foe”. As we sung the last part, a sense of victory filled our young hearts … “Crowns and thrones may perish, Kingdoms rise and wane. But the cross of Jesus, Constant will remain.” We never give up. We always hold onto Him and go forward.
- Forward. ThisÂ is moving ahead, but not just moving ahead to any point. It is a moving towards a goal. It denotes to move from one destination to another. Paul, in writing to the Philippians, reminded them, “… but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13, NLT).
- Together. We need to have people who will love and encourage us to go the journey with us. You know the ones. The ones who will not let us give up or get stuck. Paul also knew life was a race that we run individually, while at the same time, we run it collectively. “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:14, NLT).
And so I share with you the words spoken months ago:
“Upward. Onward. Forward. Together.”
~ A Bahamian Saying