The Spiritual Gift of Hindsight
The disciples saw the risen Jesus in their locked room and told the doubting Thomas all about it. The disciples on the Emmaus road recognized the risen Jesus as he broke bread with them and rushed back to Jerusalem to share the news. A week later Thomas saw Jesus in the wounds Jesus displayed. Thomas took the memory of that experience with him, sharing the good news of Jesus’ resurrection perhaps as far away as India.
Christian teaching calls all believers to share the news of Jesus’ resurrection, though we ourselves are not eyewitnesses of the event.
While I am persuaded by the historic factuality of Jesus’ resurrection, convincing others by proof of logic or reason argument is not at the core of this witnessing work. Sharing the reason for our hope is.
There are lots of ways to think about doing this but one that is especially appropriate to the end of the school year is that of reflection on the past. We frequently think of hindsight as the occasion of regret. “If I’d known then what I know now…” is our lament when we look back on past actions with regretful awareness. But 20/20 hindsight can also provide us with the lens through which to recognize God’s care for us, experiences of life-redeeming grace, or the blessing of the witness of others to the hope that we share with them.
Perhaps as you look back on this semester or further back in the previous years you can recall times when your back was right to the wall due to your own failure or some other crisis. But instead of shame you were shown mercy and forgiveness. Instead of debilitating illness, you received invigorating health. Instead of meaninglessness and loss of direction, a life of purpose was revealed to you. Perhaps you can identify times when things did not go as planned and no, with the benefit of hindsight, you can also identify the unanticipated blessings that came in the wake of those disappointments and failures.
These are not only moments to remember and cherish for their own sake, they are also windows for us to begin to recognize the mechanism of our redemption, of our own resurrection hope. These experiences, usually only recognizable in hindsight, help us recognize the ways in which God is at work in our daily life. Such hindsight can provide the scaffolding for our growing confidence as we walk into an unknown future. Furthermore, hindsight can provide the starting point for stories of our own hopefulness when we have opportunity to share them.
The psalm writer declared “I am thanking you God from a full heart. I am writing the book of your wonders.”
Centuries later, John’s Gospel offered, “these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ.”
We have our own writing to do as individuals and communities of believers, writing about the hope of resurrection and redemption in our own lives and in the lives of others.
As the semester draws to a close, I encourage you to pray about it, write about it and talk about it.
In Jesus’ name.
May 8, 2019
- Archives of Devotional Writings from our Pastoral Staff
- “Some Lent!”
- (Your vocation here) of people
- A Point of Privilege
- A season of anticipation
- Advent = Hope
- All will be well
- Are we willing to cross the road for one another?
- Better Together
- Can we learn to be happy?
- Carrying the COVID Cross
- Come and See
- Did Jesus really suffer?
- Doing without in a life of plenty
- Don’t miss this moment
- Exiles with Vision
- Fear not!
- Feeling at Home
- Finding Purpose in the Journey
- Finding Words for Times Like These
- Forgiving others – and ourselves
- Getting ahead with Jesus
- Getting down on Jesus’ level
- Have yourself a merry little Christmas — somehow
- Holy Week and Taking Out the Trash
- Holy Week: The aid station late in the semester
- Hopes & Dreams vs Life in the Wilderness
- How glad we’ll be if it’s so
- I almost slipped
- In a time of uncertainty, these things are certain
- In praise of plans B … C … D …
- In Praise of Skeptical Disciples
- In the midst of grief, God will bring life
- Is there such a thing as being too forgiving?
- It’s a Three Day Weekend!
- It’s In the Bag
- It’s What’s Happening
- Killing off our future selves
- Lessons in fire building
- Let us work for real wellness in our communities
- Life Is a Highway
- Lilies and leaves and whatever else is beautiful
- Living in the Present
- O Lord, you know I hate buttermilk
- Of Fear and Failure
- On Christian Unity: When we’re not one big happy church
- On the Bucket List
- Pray and Let God Worry
- Preparing for the world to be turned rightside up
- Recovering from an Epic Fail
- Reformation calls for examination
- Remembering among the forgetful
- Seeing beauty in brokenness
- Signs of Love
- Starting Small
- Still in the storm
- Taking a Break from the Relentless
- Talking ourselves into it
- Thankfulness leads to joyfulness
- The Art of Holy Week
- The Funny Business of Forgiveness
- The Greatest of These is Love
- The Magi: Exemplars of Faith and Learning
- The Power of Small Conversations
- The Power of Taking a Sabbath
- The Spiritual Gift of Hindsight
- This can’t be done alone
- To be known
- You will be in our prayers this summer of 2020
- Ventures of which we cannot see the ending
- We had hoped
- What do you do with your anger?
- What is your base reality?
- What to do after you find your voice
- What to do on the day after
- What we know and what we don’t know
- When bad things happen
- When joy and sadness live together
- When the promise of resurrection is hard to believe
- When you offer up your broken cup
- Where God will be found
- Where is the good shepherd carrying you?
- Wilderness Journeys
- Year-end time management: Keeping the main thing the main thing
- Your Valpo roots will help you grow into your future