“Hindsight is 20/20.” My dad would say this after I informed him of the results of what I had just learned was a poor decision. How frustrating to see so clearly something you would have liked to have seen a day, a week or even an hour before! Once you make a call on something, it’s over.This is true of marriages, business decisions and purchases. If only we could see into the future about certain things!
What about trials? Have you ever had 20/20 hindsight on those? Perhaps, looking back, you can see how maybe you were the problem when you had originally thought it was someone else? Yeah. Me too. That stinks. Or maybe you can look back and see some good that has come from a trial, something that you would not have had or appreciated very much before that burden pressed forcefully on your shoulders?
I’m reading a wonderful book by Dr. Peter Masters called The Personal Spiritual Life. I’m only three chapters into it and already I’ve been convicted several times. Chapter three outlines Paul’s positive plan for holiness. One point is that we must fight the flesh. Everyone fights their flesh about something. It may be anger for one, gossip for another, laziness for yet another. One thing is sure, we each one struggle in some area(s). This thought led me to recall something from one of the churches my husband pastored. Some people got very angry at his stand for God’s Word. I was afraid they may actually try to harm us or our property. The worst thing that happened was that someone put sugar in our gas tank and ruined the fuel pump. The events of that time brought out terrible anger in my heart. I had been angry before, but never to that level! It was actually hatred for certain people. I shared it with my husband one night, and as soon as I spewed it out (because anger doesn’t seep – it spews), I immediately felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit for my words and feelings. I repented of it and began working on that weakness in my life. I now guard carefully against anger. It’s one more thing I must fight my flesh over.
Today, some years removed from that situation, I can see clearly that God was using that time to shape and mold me. I didn’t know I was capable of such anger. The circumstances of those turbulent times were like fire, bringing the dross to the surface so it can be removed. Viewing these past experiences as part of God’s plan for my life helps remove the bitterness I was feeling about them. How can I be upset about something which God used to refine me? I want to be pliable in the Potter’s hands. God uses the wicked people in the world to bring about His will for His children (e.g., the Sabeans and Chaldeans helped bring about God’s will for Job’s life in Job chapter one.). Realizing this, how can I be angry at those people who harmed us in the past? It was all part of God’s plan to bring about good for me.
Not every trial has been explained to me, nor will I ever understand every hard thing God has put in my life. Romans 4: 3-4 says, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:” My experience gives me hope, and hope is a very good thing.
Perhaps you’re struggling today with a trail. Maybe you’re wondering what it’s about? Why you? What are you supposed to learn? Just keep trusting Him. One day, it will be in the rear view mirror and you’ll have 20/20 vision. Until then, remember that it’s all for God’s glory.
It’s not about us, it’s about Him.