By Dr. Daniel Stahl

Did you grow up hearing the phrase, “Upward and Onward?” Perhaps, you grew up with “To infinity and beyond,” or “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” The simple message is “Don’t quit! Keep moving forward.” It is easy to say, but sometimes not so easy to do. The Apostle wrote, “…but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14). God wants us to be vision drawn, destiny driven, and future focused people; not people focused on the past.

There was a destiny relevant scene in the classic movie, Forest Gump, when one of the characters, Lt. Dan Taylor, survived a mortar explosion but suffered the loss of both legs below the knees. He angrily confronts Forest for saving his life instead of leaving him in the jungle to die from his wounds. He screamed at Forest saying that his destiny should have been to die in the battle as a hero instead of having to live after the war as a cripple and freak.

A powerful line came when Lt. Dan said, “You understand what I am saying? This was not supposed to happen, not to me. I had a destiny. I was Lt. Dan Taylor.”

Forest replies in his humble innocence, “You’re still Lt. Dan.”

After a moment of reflection, Lt. Dan says, “Just look at me. What am I going to do now?”

Not to underestimate Lt. Dan’s loss of two limbs and the emotional effects of PTSD, no one can move forward into a preferred future when their eyes are focused on the past and thoughts dwelling on past loss and unmet expectations. You may feel you’re missing a part of your heart ripped out by death or divorce. Perhaps a business tanked and now emotional and financial losses are crippling. You feel like echoing Lt. Dan, “Just look at me. What am I going to do now?” Choose to echo the Apostle Paul, “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on.”