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.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3
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.