Rules of the Road #2: You Can’t Drive Forward Without a Rear View Mirror

Jackson Snyder, July 5, 1995

Luke 24: Now
that very same day, two of them were on their way to a village called
Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem,  14. and they were
talking together about all that had happened.  15. And it
happened that as they were talking together and discussing it,
Yahshua himself came up and walked by their side;  16. but
their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.  17. He
said to them, “What are all these things that you are discussing
as you walk along?” They stopped, their faces downcast.  

25. Then he said to them, “You foolish men! So slow to believe all that the prophets have said!  26. Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer before entering into his glory?”  27. Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.  When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; 29. but they pressed him to stay with them saying, “It is nearly evening, and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. 31. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; but he had vanished from their sight. 32. Then they said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?”

Man Was There Snow

old folks will recall the blizzard of 1978.  In a very
short time, snow drifted up to 15 or 20 feet in some areas.  The
wind chill factor brought the temperature down to 50 below.  Many
highways were closed for weeks.  I was playing the Hammond
organ for a living in those days.  I had finished up a
month’s gig in Muskegon, Michigan and was booked for the next month
in Kansas City.  Although there were winter storm warnings
out, I packed my equipment up late at night and headed southwest,
hoping to get to KC by the next morning, and to bed.

the time I hit the Chicago by-pass, it was snowing like I had never
seen it snow before.  Except for the reflection of my
headlights off the snow, it was pitch black.  Visibility on
the road was nearly zero, then suddenly, it
was zero

wanted to get off the road, but I thought there was a ditch to the
right.  I didn’t dare stop in the middle, because if
someone were behind me, they surely wouldn’t see my lights in time
to stop.  And I couldn’t even see the stripe on the road
in front of me.  I began to panic, as I shot forward by
faith and not by sight.  It was like one of those
nightmares where you are driving with your eyes closed, just awaiting
the crash….

prayed a few words in desperation then looked into my rear-view
mirror.  My van was cutting a swath through the snow; in
the mirror
I could see the stripe on the road behind me.  So I drove
slowly through that blizzard – forward – while looking in the
rear-view mirror for that stripe behind me.  I gauged my
forward direction entirely by where I’d been – a dangerous practice
except in a blizzard.  It was the only thing I could’ve
done.  And thank Yahweh there was nobody in front of me,
for if there had been, chances are I would not be here today.  I
didn’t make much forward progress, but my life was spared, and I
reached my destination late but safe. 

was through my experience on the Chicago by-pass that the second rule
of the road became most clear to me – You
Can’t Drive Forward without a Rear-view Mirror
.  And
though my experience demonstrates a most unusual and risky use of the
rear-view mirror, it illustrates two corollaries essential for
Christian living: 1) Trying
to move ahead by looking behind is dangerous
yet 2) The
past, in its proper perspective, may have a very positive bearing on
what is yet to come
.  Let’s
look at the three uses of the rear-view mirror.

Use #1:
Seeing What’s Coming Up From Behind

disciples of Yahshua are making the seven-mile journey from Jerusalem
to Emmaus.  They’re dismayed and horrified at the literal
fulfillment of Yahshua’s prophecy about himself – that, though he
was without crime, he would die at the hands of sinful men in
Jerusalem.  Perhaps Cleopas and James are driven to Emmaus
by fear – fear that they too, as disciples of Yahshua, might be
caught up in the web of arrests that were to follow.  Maybe
they too might have to face a cruel cross if they didn’t flee.

they’re walking, they’re talking – “How could this have
possibly happened!” they’re saying.  “We know he was
a just and righteous man.  But we thought him to be the
Messiah and King, the Anointed One from Elohim who would save us from
our enemies.  Moreover, we have given all we have for his
cause, and spent all these many years in his service.  How
could this possibly be?”

reflect on the terrifying crucifixion of Yahshua, which has burned an
indelible impression upon their minds, wiping clean both the promise
of Scripture about Yahshua, and Yahshua’ promises to them.  All
they can see now is the awesome specter of a bloody man on a
stake.  They’re blinded to everything else, even to the
message of an empty tomb and visions of angels.  They can’t
see where they’re going, but they’re headed for spiritual

they can’t see who’s coming up from behind either.  For
if they would only look in their faith’s rear-view mirror for one
moment, they would discover that it’s Yahshua
approaches — the very one of whom they speak – the very one who’s
the object of their preoccupation with the terror.  And
when he overtakes them, they still can’t see him.  And
when they finally see him, they don’t recognize him, even though
they’d been his followers.

Baggage with Peace of Mind

for assembling a certain make of Japanese motorcycle begin with these
words, “Before assembling motorcycle, obtain peace of mind.”  A
person who is “assembling” her own “salvation with fear and
trembling” simply cannot see, hear, taste, or touch the will of
Yahweh for her life unless she first obtains a
measure of peace
.  We
can’t go forward in our ministry or our discipleship clinging to
past hurts, resentments and failures no matter how great an
impression these have made.  The Japanese way for putting
together motorcycles is a good way for us to put our lives on track.

Italians, too, have a peculiar custom.  On New Year’s
Eve, at the stroke of 12, the windows of the houses fly open.  To
the sound of laughter, music and fireworks, each member of the family
pitches out old crockery, detested ornaments, hated furniture and
personal possessions that remind them of something in the past year
they’re determined to wipe out of their minds.  We have a
similar custom in the U.S. – only we do the same thing in broad
daylight and call it a “yard sale.”

unload this baggage from the past and obtain from Yahweh forgiveness,
deliverance, justification, empowerment, and glorification, before we
can make progress forward.  We must, through the Savior’s
help, extricate ourselves from the Slough of Despondency to walk
through the fair meadows of Yah’s Grace upward to the Celestial
City of Zion. And nobody has a harder time doing this but me!

may only obtain such peace if we change our minds, lay down our
crosses, and pick up His cross, and follow him; for it is His cross
and not yours that he bids you to lift.  I know a man named
McGee in West Pensacola who, at 89 years of age, puts on gym shorts,
a muscle shirt and tennis shoes to run his fifteen
miles every day
three bypass surgeries.  We can follow McGee.  Lay
aside troubles, put on our gear, and RUN.  We must meet
Yahshua each morning in the driver’s seats of our hearts, and run
the race with
.  As
we compete, matching speed for speed, we’ll get to know him: for he
will reveal himself in greater and greater ways as we commit greater
and greater hours and days, mind and body, soul and spirit.  And
we can become like him if we abide with him – if we can keep up
with him – his assurance
we can own – assurance that will more peace than insurance,
especially in the midst of the blinding blizzards of our lives. 

you want a solution to your inner hurts, worries and
distractions?  Then you need to leave the pack and run with
the King.

Use #2:
Seeing Where One Has Already Been

the text, when Yahshua finally addresses his unsuspecting
Emmaus-bound disciples, he calls them fools!  That gets
their attention – it takes their minds off the past few days and on
to the insult of this “stranger.”  Yahshua exhorts
them, “How slow are your brains to believe what the prophets have
spoken about Messiah.  Don’t you remember what the Bible
says? ‘He must suffer before entering his glory?’”

these words, Yahshua turns their eyes to back,
forcing them to look in the rear-view mirror.  It is not
Yahshua they see there (for he has caught up with them).  What
they see is the Word, which “cannot be broken.”  In
turning their minds toward the Logos and away from their sad
experience, Yahshua helps them to the
big picture of hope
than the
little picture of despair
.  He
demonstrates the correct use of the past to inform the present and
direct the future. 

two shall be one, says the book, and that certainly proves true when
you lose a spouse. For the last seven years I haven’t felt whole.
…. My struggle with my future. I knew these verses before, but I
had to look back to claim them for what’s ahead. “Therefore I
tell you,
whatever you ask
in prayer, believe
that you have
it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24

must’ve carefully explained the various forms of sacrifices in
Scripture and related them to his sacrifice – the burnt offering of
the bull without blemish, the cereal offering of fine flour, oil and
frankincense, the peace offering of a perfect lamb, the sin offering
of a young bull, the guilt offering of two spotless turtle doves, or
of a ram without blemish, along with many shekels of silver. 

surely reminded the disciples there on the road of the willingness of
Abraham to sacrifice his son if it was necessary; and the willingness
of Yahweh to sacrifice his
as well.  In the light of unbroken Scripture, he must have
recalled the words of the prophet concerning the
final sacrifice

53:6,10.We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned
to his own way; and Yahweh has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
{10} Yet it was Yahweh’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though Yahweh makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his
offspring and prolong his days, and the will of Yahweh will prosper
in his hand.

after these disciples reach Emmaus, they will proclaim one to the
other, “Weren’t
our brains
he talked with us on the road and opened the Logos to us?”  For
the very one who was led like a lamb to slaughter showed them
step-by-step, event-by-event, record-by-record, exactly how the past
had led to the present, and was leading to the future, Yahweh’s
future, for them and for us – Yahshua’s little flock.  Turning
their eyes back to something greater than their sadness, they became
converted to a new way of thinking – a
higher way

and a wider vision.

rear-view mirror of my car has a little decal pasted on it.  It
says, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”  It
often seems that the promises of Scripture and the evidences of its
fulfillment are far from the daily grind of our lives.  They’re
antiquated or, as Hebrews says, obsolete. Yet, when we set our eyes
and “minds on things anew, above, again,” we realize despite
ourselves that He’s real, his power strong, and his future for us
bright – even though we might currently be driving through the
suburbs of Pyriphlegethon. 

looking to the promises of the word we find Yahshua the focal
point.  Yet Yahshua’ coming did not fulfill Scripture
entirely – only in part.  Those unfulfilled prophecies
are promises that He has not yet been able to bring forth in our
lives due to our blindness and lack of faith.

unfulfilled promises are powerful indicators of what he wants for
each of our lives – of which direction he wants us to
go.  Unfulfilled promises may include: “You shall receive
power,” “You shall be my witnesses,” “You shall speak with
new languages,” “You shall pray for the sick, and they will
recover,” “You shall love one another, as I have loved you,”
“You shall receive peace, my peace.”  “You shall
receive the words you must say,” “You shall never see death.” 

do such words speak to us today within the contexts of the various
dilemmas we face, within those situations that’ve caused the
blinding of our forward vision?  How do we measure up to
what he wants us to be?  How do our future hopes compare to
his perfect destiny for us?  How do we who are operating
our vehicles in his permissive will,
“now looking into the rear-view mirror dimly,” plan to navigate
toward his perfect will?  Are
our “hearts burning within us” as the Word of Elohim convicts us
of short-sightedness and convinces us of eternal worth?

in mirror are closer than they appear.”  Sometimes you
just have to abandon the rear-view mirror to get the true picture of
what all is behind you.  Sometimes you just have to take
your eyes off the road and crane your neck around to see the true
picture of what the Almighty wants to do with your life.  Sometimes
it is valuable to reflect on the many difficult, even impossible,
situations and circumstances in which He intervened in a miraculous
way to bring you through.  If such reflection doesn’t
convince you that you are worthwhile and precious to him, and that he
wants to do more with you and for you, then nothing will. 


back in this way, seeing Yahshua’ love for you, will propel you
into your future for him.  And the past, now in its proper
perspective, may have a very positive bearing on what is yet to come
in your life, and also in our corporate life as Yahad.  Just
as both fulfilled and unfulfilled promises of scripture encouraged
these Emmaus disciples to see Yahshua in the broken bread, we, in the
here and now, who hold such promises dear and move ourselves toward
their fulfillment, will see Yahshua face to face, and recognize him
as our own.  But that’s down “the long and winding road
– on ahead”: a destination to whence we’ve yet to arrive.

skin salve calls itself: “Future Perfect Micro-Targeted Skin
Gel.”  The ad promises to give your skin what it needs –
luminosity – light.  The ad reads:  “The past
forgiven.  The present improved.  The Future
Perfect.  Future Perfect Micro-Targeted Skin Gel!”  That’s
quite a claim for a product that is only skin deep!   The
fact is, such is the promise of a Yahweh who can’t lie!  “The
past forgiven.  The present improved.  The Future
Perfect.”  Make these promises yours and you will see
them fulfilled in this life. That is a good product description.

Use #3:
Seeing To Drive In Reverse

Cleopas and his friend recognized Yahshua in the breaking of the
bread, they also recognized their error and changed their
direction.  They turned from their despair and
misunderstanding, and set their course back – back to Jerusalem –
back to the excitement – back to the danger – back to the place from
whence they’d just come.  Back to the City of Gold, where
there was an upper room furnished for miracles.  For it was
in this upper room where they would eventually receive their Baptism
with the Holy Spirit, a precious promise fulfilled, and new direction
for their life’s journey.  And in the fulfillment of this
promise, the found assurance.

was the pastor of a church in the woods called Wildwood Chapel. I
used to make the trip down the long Wildwood Chapel Lane in my truck
just about every day, backwards.  As I drove in reverse, I
watched very closely in my rear-view mirrors so that I don’t crash
into the wildwood.  I learned that reverse gear is for
limited distances, and a rear-view mirror used in the process of
backing up is a very limited tool.  I suppose that’s why
automakers went from one rear-view mirror per vehicle to three.

when I get out on the road, I can see my way clear to take my vehicle
out of reverse and shift it into drive.  Driving to Winn
Dixie in forward gear is so much more convenient and less hazardous
that trying to drive the whole way in reverse.

Emmaus disciples didn’t walk backward to Jerusalem.  If
Yahweh wanted them to walk backward, he would’ve created them with
eyes on the back of their heads instead of on the front.  No
– now that their minds were turned around by the witness of Yahshua
himself, it was only fitting that they turn their bodies around for
the return trip.  They changed their direction to follow
the promises rather than their own fears and designs. 

we all should, too.  We need to turn around and face
Yahweh’s promises and our destiny in the kingdom.  If you
will put the cause of the Messiah first in your life instead of last,
if you will shift your powerful vehicle from reverse into “drive,”
if you will look forward to your Jerusalem and your Yahweh — then He
will move on your behalf – you will “live long and prosper,” and
your assembly will, as a fringe benefit, grow in faith, hope, and

Before I step
into my truck, Let me open your door.
Then bless me, Father and
we’ll be on our way.

If I should meet with misfortune on the highway,
steer me through my times of trouble.
Be the first driver and map our way.
Guide me through the fog into the next day.
Be that light that shines at the top of the hill; and help me get there
without any pills, but by way of your will.
Let my eyes foresee the dangers and I’ll lend a helping hand.
Touch me to lift my spirits I pray in Yeshu’s name.
Direct me on the right roads and keep me between the lines
Till we get where we are going.
Don’t leave me behind! (anonymous)

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