The Chicago River in America is unusual because it flows backwards. Engineers reversed its direction over a century ago because city dwellers were using it as a dump. Dishwater, sewage and industrial waste all funnelled into the river, which emptied into a nearby lake. Since the lake supplied drinking water for the city, thousands grew sick and died before city authorities decided to redirect the river to flow backwards, away from the lake.

When we look at the earthly life of Jesus, it may seem backwards from what we would expect. As the King of glory, He came to earth as a vulnerable infant. As God in the flesh, He endured accusations of blasphemy (dishonouring God). As the only sinless man, He was crucified as a criminal. But Jesus lived on earth according to God’s will (John 6:38).

As followers of Christ, to clothe ourselves with Jesus’ attitudes and actions may appear ‘backwards’. Blessing our enemies (Rom. 12:14), valuing godliness over wealth (1 Tim. 6:6-9) and taking joy in hardship (James 1:2) seem to oppose worldly wisdom. Yet, Jesus said, “Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25).

Don’t worry if living your life sometimes means operating in reverse. God will give you the strength to honour Him, and He will propel you forward.

Obeying God may seem backwards, but it is the only way of moving forwards.


Jennifer Benson Schuldt


Our Daily Bread