Helpful Hindsight

Helpful Hindsight

In the last five years I have made it a habit to ask people, on their birthday, what their favorite memory of the past year was. It guarantees some strange looks, but the results are always fruitful to both the inquisitee and I. Delving into the past will always produce what I like to call memory nuggets. These can include times of joy, sadness, and insight, to name a few. These are the times that are worth remembering for the rest of your life.

But let’s face it, the wider a time-frame applied to your reflection, the more memories slip through the cracks. Most people have had too many wonderful memories to pinpoint their best memory to just one. This is a testimony to God’s goodness. What of the bad memories? We say, “I can’t wait to get through this week so I can start trying to forget this even happened.”

Where is the value in forgetting? As Dr. McIlhenny says, history is knowledge. God places both the happy times and the sad times in our lives, and for good reason (see Ecclesiastes 3). These are sanctifying experiences, yet we try to forget them?

A friend once told me that the best memory of his year was the death of his grandmother and the subsequent time spent with his family. They had gathered together in sadness to reflect on and celebrate her life. God uses painful experiences to show His love to His saints. Even hard memories are a testimony to God’s goodness.

Soon, we will be able to take shelter from the whirlwind of this semester during Thanksgiving break. As you rest, take some time to remember and meditate on the happenings of the last few months. Write them down; your future self will appreciate your present self in ten years. Give thanks to our Almighty God for his perfect sovereignty, “for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.”