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Chapel Service

Toyota Showdown at Irwindale, CA

January 29, 2011

“Rearview Mirrors & Front Windows”

Bob Butcher


As this New Year opened I once again found myself looking in the past.  That is because I believe you can see the hand of God best in your life through the rearview mirrors. Looking back it is easier to evaluate and understand many of the whys …for example:

  • Why we were borne into the home & family we were
  • Why He brought certain people into our lives at a particular time
  • Why He allowed circumstances to come into & out of our lives
  • Why He permitted difficulties & pain
  • Why He took us to certain places …& at a certain time
  • Why He put us into various jobs & careers

On New Years day Kathy and I went to see the new Narnia movie “Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” Great movie and we recommend it!

At one point Prince Caspian is standing on the sea shore with Aslan, Lucy, Edmund and Reepicheep looking at the standing wall of water before them.  As the conversation unwinds I was rocked in my heart when Caspian says: “I’ve spent too much time wanting what was taken from me, not what was given.”

Wow, that set me back in my chair!  My mind has not quit pondering that since.  How many of us deal with this very type of rearview mindset regularly?  Personally, I can say that I have often dealt with the sadness of having lost people, careers, opportunities, and any number of lucrative possibilities that I never will see where they may have led today.

Most often people then turn the blame onto God for their loss and circumstances that surround it and may remain still today. I guess it is easier to see what has happened and think up all the brilliant ways we would do thing different next time while looking into the present or future leaves us without clear knowledge of what’s next.

We forget that our Creator desires to give us blessings of good gifts.  But we tend not to look at that fact out the rearview mirrors; do we.  All too often the rearview mirrors are tunnel vision on the worst of life.

James 1:17 says: “Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens. He is always the same and never changes.

Luke 12:22-31 helps us understand just how much God knows our needs.

22 Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. 23 For life is more than what food or kind of food you have, and your body more than someplace to hang expensive and stylish clothing on. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him than any birds! 25 Can all those kind of worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

27 “Look at the wildflowers and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith in God?

29 “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. 30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. (TGBB)

1 Cor. 2:9: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Romans 8:28: “We are assured and know that since]God is a partner in our labor all things work together and are fitting into a plan according to His design and purpose for our good, and for those who love God.” (TGBB)

Phil. 4:19 says God will supply ALL our needs…

Take a few minutes and look at King David’s words about the character of God and His care for us:

Ps 136:3-5 (TGBB)
Thank God! He deserves your thanks because His love for us never quits.
Thank the God of all gods, The Lord of all lord, The King of all kings.
His love never quits.

Thank the miracle-working God,
His love and miracles never quit because He loves us so much.

He’s the God whose skill formed the cosmos,
The God who laid out earth on ocean foundations,
The God who filled the skies with light,
The sun to watch over the day,
The Moon and stars as guardians of the night,

He’s the God who struck down the Egyptian firstborn, protecting His people.
And rescued Israel from Egypt’s oppression,
He took Israel into His powerful hand,
Because His love never quits.
He split the Red Sea right in half,
And led Israel right through the middle,
While He dumped Pharaoh and his army into the sea,

He’s the God who marched His people through the desert,
And smashed huge kingdoms right and left before them,
Striking down their famous kings,
Then distributed their land as booty as He handed the land over to Israel.
All this because His love never quits.

He still loves His people today and fills the earth with miracles, His love never ends.

Psalms 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

* The moon & the stars & heavens get it and we don’t?

**What’s wrong with this picture? Why don’t we get it?

Jesus said in Luke 19: 37-40 that if we don’t recognize Him & His goodness even the rocks will cry out!

Besides all this remember what I know to rely upon: “Never interpret the character of God by your circumstances; but instead interpret your circumstances by the unchanging character of God.” – Bob

  • I base this upon:
    • Galatians 5:22-23 “The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.”
    • Luke 6:43 “For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.
  • My experiences in life from both sides of faith in God issue:
    • One of the easiest to see is how I have survived through some situations that only the hand of God could have kept me alive …in the Air Force & life.
    • One of the other ones is how He has protected Kathy, the girls, & me without ever having health insurance. The only time it was ever needed my entire surgery was completely paid for without anything Kathy or I said, ask, or did.
    • The number of times I have been totally healed by prayer miraculously not needing surgery.
    • The absolutely unexplainable situations we faced overseas on missionary outreaches where there was no possible answer except the hand of God, …protection, travel miracles, busses through impossible places …on and on.
    • The more I reflect upon the ways God has managed my journey by the “Work of His Hands,” I see how He has faithfully assisted & directed the outcomes in the end.

Now, I have to ask you about circumstances like this in your own life.

Have you ever stopped to think about this?

Yet we keep tunnel vision in that rearview mirror!

Well …

“You can’t win a race by just looking in the rearview mirror! It takes looking ahead and working on improving the future …by using the front windshield.”

-Bob 1-30-2011

Yes, there are things lost …but were they imperative for joy, or personal accomplishment in my life?  I have to wonder.  Yes, they hurt.  Yes, I wonder what would have been, and some times the road of life is like racing at “The Glenn” or Sonoma (Infineon) in a thick fog, twisted and scary, but..

Those are questions for the other side of eternity, I guess.

Right now when I stand here before you …honored to be doing what I do, …being on this side of the wheel, …having the blessing of the amazing kids I have and the lives they have led, …and stop and think of the places we have been in ministry over the years & everyone we have touched …but even more how those people have touched us…

Then all I can say is I am with Prince Caspian in his assessment of Aslan!

So, Let’s all look out the front windshield at 2011.




(TGBB) means “The Gospel by Bob” is the version used to quote.