|Foresight vs. Hindsight
Seeing Through the Tears
© Ferna Lary Mills
Grief hurts. The tears won't stop. The emptiness is unbearable and Hope seems to be an
empty concept. At least in the beginning. We try to look ahead and all we can see are more
years of this empty, endless hurt. It seems hopeless because we're helpless and we wonder
how much of this we can really stand.
Is life going to be a mere existence for us for the rest of our days? Or is there really hope to be
found? In our grief, hindsight reminds us how much we've lost and foresight seems to tell us
how little we will ever have again compared to that loss. Wow. No hope at all there! No
wonder grief seems so hopeless.
While corresponding with a dear friend who has just recently lost her husband, I wondered why
God gave us hindsight and foresight if they are both so very hopeless. Is this really a good
thing? The answer is yes, if we look at it from His eyes. Of course, God sees everything in the
eternal-present. He sees you from the moment He first stepped out in space and thought of
you, to the very ends of eternity, all at once, as an "all-of-you-at-one-time" version of you.
He doesn't see the "before-grief you" and the "after-grief you" as two separate visions. Nor
does He see the "infant" you and the "grandparent" you as two separate visions. He sees you
wholly, from the first moment to the last, all at once, right now. Wow. Try to imagine the "you"
He really sees. His vision of you is an "eternal present" vision. He knows every hurt and
sorrow and every joy your life has ever held or will ever hold, eternally. So His foresight and
hindsight are perfect. No unknowns, no hidden secrets.
Our foresight and hindsight of course are very flawed. Our hindsight is distorted by so many
things we've forgotten. Even our fondest memories fade and distort with enough time. Our
foresight is broken before we even start, because none of us can accurately predict future
events in our life. We can base what we THINK our future holds based on where we have
been and where we are right now, but we can't really KNOW what it holds until it gets here.
Add grief to the mixture and we can't see through the tears. The future seems empty and
There IS hope, however. Here's an interesting exercise:
Using your hindsight, think for a moment back to a time when events in your life were really
bad. (No, not the grief you are going through right now because this is the present, but another
previous event in your life.) Maybe it was a bad time in your life before God sent you your
loved one? Maybe it was a situation you thought you would never get through. Maybe there
was another point in your life that although it can't compare with your grief now, maybe it was,
at that time, the hardest thing you had ever been through.
Now, think of a time after that when you experienced real joy again in your life. Maybe it was
the birth of a child or grandchild, or a marriage, a rewarding job, or some special event in your
life that blessed you in a special way.
During that previous bad time, your foresight couldn't imagine the good time that would follow,
but it happened! Now, answer this question: During that really bad time in your life, if I had
stepped off a street corner and told you about the really happy time to come in your life in such
a few short years, would you have believed me? Or would you have thought I was insane?
Many years ago, I found myself in a horrible situation and my own life seemed utterly and
completely hopeless. I know for a fact, if YOU had stepped off a street corner and told me I
would get through it and then if YOU had listed one-by-one the multitude of joys I've
experienced since then, I would have thought YOU were insane! Because I didn't have the
foresight to see the joys ahead of me, and because I was buried in my sorrow and despair at
the time, I couldn't imagine ever finding joy again in my life. But it happened!
I'm certain that the grief you are experiencing right now is probably the worst thing you've ever
had to go through. Because of your grief, it may be impossible for you to imagine that one day
Joy WILL return to your life, but I'm going to step off the proverbial street corner right now and
tell you, "Yes, it WILL."
How do I know this? Mainly because I know that God loves you.
I have loved you with an everlasting love! (Jeremiah 31:3)
He only wants the very best for you.
I know the plans I have for you, states the Lord. Plans to prosper you and to give you hope
and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Although you are grieving now, He promises that joy WILL return to you. Your grief is not going
to be this intense forever.
Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. (Psalms 30:5)
Remember that previous bad time? Remember the joys that have followed since then? He is
ever faithful! But has He forgotten you, even now in your grief? Absolutely not! I know that
sometimes in our grief it feels like God has turned His back on us, but trust me when I tell you
this just is not true. That's merely the grief talking.
I am with you always, even to the ends of the earth. (Matthew 28:20)
He never promised that we wouldn't have problems, but He did promise we would never have
to go through them alone! Though you may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He
is always with you!
I know it's impossible to imagine the joys He still has planned for you. Only He knows what
they are. But know that He does have a plan! In the meantime, actively seek the blessings in
your life and you will find them. As the old hymn goes: Count your blessings ... name them one
Spend many hours in prayer, building that personal relationship with him, for when you seek
Him, you WILL find Him. When you just can't pray, spend time reading the scriptures, for they
are filled with His promises for you. Or just spend some quiet time "waiting on God" and in the
gentle stillness, listening for His still small voice.
May God bring you comfort and peace. May He dry your eyes and make you vividly aware of
His awesome presence in your life. May you become as acutely aware of Him, as He is of you.
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Life After Loss
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