I have endured some frustrating, discouraging, and difficult times in my life. As I walked through them, buried in the middle, they seemed downright overwhelming. I just knew the storms would never end and the challenges were sure to bury and destroy me.
It is a funny thing, though. Looking back I struggle to remember the darkness. I remember the storms themselves . I just cannot see the storms without seeing the sunshine that followed. I cannot see the challenges without seeing the growth that resulted from those challenges.
Admittedly, some of the difficult times seem to have no rhyme or reason. To this day, I still cannot see how God was glorified through some of those situations, and I just have to wonder what the purpose was. He knows, and I have to trust Him. Even those situations, however, look much less daunting in hindsight. And I know that even those times resulted in a measure of spiritual growth in me.
Everything is better in hindsight, it seems. When I read Scripture that deals with walking through trials, I have to wonder how I would approach trials differently were I to have a hindsight mentality even in the midst of them. Take, for example, these familiar verses from James.
I know that God will be glorified.
I know that I will grow.
I know that exercising my spiritual muscles makes them stronger.
I know that learning to run a marathon does not happen without the pain of learning to run around the block.
What if I were to follow James’ advice and acknowledge those truths in the middle of a trial? Hindsight would become current sight. The joy that I experience when I see God’s hand in the end would exist in my faith even in the middle. As a result, the storms might not be so dark and interminable and the challenges would not be nearly as suffocating.
I am a work in progress. I cannot promise that I will have adopt hindsight in the middle of my next trial. I do know, however, that my endurance is greater now than it was in the trial I experienced ten years ago or that struggle I endured four years ago. That gives me great joy in this moment, and I know it can continue to give me joy as I ride the next inevitable trial.