As I write this, I am at the tail end of a wonderful vacation in the place I grew up. I've been enjoying seeing and catching up with family and friends. I've also been driving around to old haunts I frequented as a youth. The urge to go back to places we have been is an interesting one. I don't doubt that part of it stems from the desire to have some things in life that do not change. However, in going back to familiar places, I also find within me an urge to measure who I am as compared to who I was years ago.

For instance, one place I returned to is a little spot by a large lake. Located at the footings of a bridge over the entrance to a canal, it's a place I almost always went to to pray as a young believer. It was there that I awed at the power of God's creation as spring storms pushed winter ice ashore in massive, scraping, overlapping sheets. On quiet summer evenings the stillness of the lake's water would evoke a quietness within me that spawned a more concentrated communion with God. Though some people fished from that spot, and others just played and left the odd bit of litter, that area of concrete by the water became a holy place to me because I paid attention to God there regularly.

My vacation return to this sacred meeting place was a profitable one for me. Externally, except for some cracks in the cement and unusually high water, all was the same. Internally, however, I noticed busyness and overload that seemed to fight off the calm that was there in my early Christian life. This vacation was just in time and the order of the day was for some re-ordering for everyday. Eternally, of course, God was the same – ready to meet there or anywhere I would pay attention to Him.

Maybe you don't have a sacred place to go back to as I do. Maybe you did but it has changed. Whatever the reality of your past, what is important to remember – and act on – is that we can connect or reconnect with God just by turning our attention and focus on Him. To accomplish this we may have to step back from the busyness of ministry or our hectic lives. Perhaps some goals we have been pursuing for some time are off target for us as God's children.

It may not feel like progress but sometimes the best step ahead you can make is the step you take back.

Rev James Snyder videoPastor Tim has retired from pastoring local churches and is now working alongside his wife to help refugees and persecuted Christians.

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