One of the characters in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is Lot’s wife. While we do not know her first name, we do know how her life ended.
When God sent fire and brimstone to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he saved Lot’s family. God asked that they only do one thing in order to save their own lives. He asked them not to look back. Lot’s wife did not obey. She looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.
Why would God ask Lot’s family to not look back? What harm is there in looking back at the burning cities? For God to say that was more than just a test of faith.
The act of looking back is symbolic. God made that request for Lot’s family’s own good. What do we do when we look back? Looking back symbolizes longing for the “good old days.” When we spend a lot of time longing for what has past, we are not living life in the present, and we certainly do not have any hope for the future. We quickly become life partners with regret. Our lives become meaningless in our minds because we feel the best has passed. Sadly, we can become dead to the present and any future we have. In essence, we stop living.
When we look back, it can also be because of something that happened we would like to change or do differently. We know whatever happened in the past cannot be changed. Once a minute has passed by it is unchangeable. It is an act of futility and a waste of our life to even entertain it. All we should focus on is making what happens in the present and future better and see that whatever happened before does not happen again, if it is in our power to do so.
The past only becomes regrettable when we do not learn from it and make the present better. The temptation to look back is always with us. It is okay to remember, but not okay to dwell on the past or to think of it in any way except as your past. God used Lot’s wife to warn us that we cannot live if we look back. We may breath and resemble a living person, but we will only be a shell if we don’t keep focused on the here and now, and where we need to go. Our lives are but a vapor here for a short time, and we should spend it wisely.
But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. Genesis 19:26