|Foresight vs. Hindsight
Seeing Through the Tears
© Ferna Lary Mills
|A Christian Grief Ministry
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 hopeless.
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 by 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. ~ Ferna