"Don't look back" (Gen 19:18).
The famous story of Lot's flight from Sodom and Gomorrah includes the startling detail of his wife looking back and being turned into a pillar of salt. Scholars say this was to identify the geographic terrain marked by salt formations, but the story holds our imaginations for its depiction of the consequences of hesitation in a time of crisis.
The phrase "Don't look back" is found in the Gospels when Jesus warns potential disciples to put their hand to the plow and not look back. It entered popular culture as one of the "rules for life" from baseball legend Satchel Paige: "Don't look back; it might be gaining on you!"
The idea we are to go forward through life, through any storm, is also found in today's Gospel. The disciples are crossing the lake as Jesus sleeps on a cushion in the back of the boat. A squall comes up and threatens to swamp them. Jesus rebukes them for their lack of faith, then calms the storm.
In his short novel, Typhoon, Joseph Conrad powerfully depicts the stolid, practical captain of a freighter caught in a killer storm in the straits of Formosa who puts aside his navigation guides and follows his instinct to go through the crisis rather than around, thus saving the ship, crew and passengers.
What stormy crossing or dangerous passage are you facing in your life? It could be a difficult decision, a challenge to go against convention, a moment when you risk everything to choose a new course toward greater integrity and freedom. Whatever we face, the Gospels counsel courage and faith. "Don't be afraid. Go forward. Don't look back."