By Debbie Christopher...Have you gone through a Bible Study, either as a group or individually, and come away thinking, “That was a great study! I will definitely refer to the insight and teaching of this passage ‘when’ I face a similar situation.” Or, “This is great for what I’m going through right now!”?
But, have you ever had a Bible Study cause you to think backwards?
Priscilla Shirer's ELIJAH:Faith and Fire* study was THAT Bible Study for me!
And, yes, this is the Bible Study that was the catalyst for my last two posts…so, you can guess this was definitely a blessing to me!
As we begin this week's thought, let's consider the following definition from Dictionary.com:
Recognition of the realities, possibilities (or lessons…my addition) of a situation, event, or decision….after its occurrence.
The word? Hindsight…you know, the Monday morning quarterback concept…looking backwards.
Or, consider this 'definition'...
Please note, I don’t usually include such long quotes, but the following quote about hindsight from Shirer’s study on the life lessons from the prophet Elijah just couldn’t be shortened. This entire paragraph was such an eye-opener for me.
Shirer entitles the section, The gift of hindsight.
Hindsight opens a window of clarity that isn’t accessible to us in real time, back when the things in question were actually happening. In the harried moments, the details and nuances were blurred and hazy. Hindsight clarifies them later into a more identifiable shape. We get it now. We wonder how we ever missed seeing it earlier. Hindsight slowly but surely answers our unanswered questions. It layers a sense of redemption and meaning across past disappointments and difficulties. It bolsters our confidence in God’s ability to turn today’s messes into tomorrow’s message and masterpiece. Hindsight affirms what Romans 8:28 always promised, that all things truly do “work together for good,” no matter how implausible it seemed at first. (Page 72)
I was nearly speechless…”Yes, yes, yes” was all I could say—between the tears, of course! I could ‘see’ how the lessons from Elijah’s life have played out in my life.
This study walked us through several places to where God had led Elijah. In each place, God had a bumpy circumstance…and a lesson... that prepared him for his ministry at the next place. These stepping-stone detours were ultimately preparing him for the ‘toughest’, ‘scariest’ ministry of all…the events at Mt. Carmel and the events that followed.
The hindsight began to set in.
You see, almost five years ago my husband and I entered an unexpected life detour that left us scratching our heads. During the early days of swimming through the accompanying brain fog, a caring church staff member asked if we were “okay”. Somehow, I was able to respond with these words, “Actually, we are kind of excited to see how this will all turn out because we know God has a ‘story’ we will be able to look back on and share with others.”
We didn’t realize at the time, but God was preparing us for our next stage of life ministry…and each stepping-stone along the way was part of His plan and preparation. Hindsight allowed us to put all the pieces together…and the detour and ensuing journey now makes sense! And this hindsight has now given us a story to share.
God's plan to move my husband from a career/ministry in Higher Ed to Middle School was a tough and scary step for both of us. But, like Mt. Carmel was to Elijah, we could approach that situation with joy, confidence, and excitement because of lessons we learned during the journey...which became the aforementioned 'story'. We see that now.
Actually, we can make similar comparisons to numerous bumpy circumstances we’ve faced together...each one preparing us for the next step.
While searching for the 'perfect' photo for this post, I came across a phrase (unknown author) that could also be the title of this blog...
Hindsight is the road forward
Life is a series of stepping-stones that prepare us for the next stage. I encourage you to take a moment to look backwards and appreciate the journey that prepared you for where you are today...or where you may be tomorrow!