17. Retrospect

I sometimes grow impatient with things. This past Sunday night, for example, my wife and I were about to leave the house to go to a dinner party when I noticed that our refrigerator was no longer cooling. The ice cream was soupy, the orange juice was close to room temperature, and the leftovers began to seem way too “left over.”


But I wasn’t about to let a dead appliance ruin my evening. I calmly moved all of the stuff into an old refrigerator in the basement, trying to think positively about how lucky we were to have that second refrigerator. Actually I was pretty coolheaded about the whole situation, knowing that things would be back to normal once I finished unloading the ice cream soup and the over-left leftovers. And then the phone rang. It was my sixteen-year old daughter. She had a flat tire.


“Okay,” I thought, “it wasn’t really ‘in the cards’ for me to make it to the party.” I quickly assessed the situation and figured that my night must somehow be intended for other things. So I changed into my old clothes, told my wife to give the party host my regrets, and headed out to meet my stranded daughter.


When I arrived on the scene, I found a nice man, Hank, changing my daughter’s tire. He was there in the church’s parking lot with his own sixteen-year old daughter, who happened to be driving the same type of automobile. He said that he thought this would be a good opportunity for his (and my) daughter to see how to change a flat tire. “What a great attitude,” I thought. My daughter really did need to know what changing a tire was all about.


I figured, too, that this incident was going to force me to do what I’d been intending to do for months: buy new tires for her car, replacing the ones that were rather worn and unsafe. Okay, I was beginning to see the bright side of things.


Hank did in fifteen minutes what would have taken me an hour to do. And in what seemed like no time, we were back on the road heading home. Things worked out so well that I was able to make it to the dinner party in perfect time.


Oh, did I tell you about the refrigerator? It was under a warranty that expires in less than a month. In retrospect, it looks like things turned out okay after all.  


Looking Back


Looking back – yes, I believe it’s important to look back. I think it even helps to remove present anxiety by considering that events held in the eye of retrospect will most always appear meaningful, even essential.


Day 17 Guide


It’s hard to see God’s design when you’re down in a hole, isn’t it? Most of the time it’s only retrospectively that you might ever see the value in problems. Today, look back and chart the course of your life. Try to identify the threads of God’s existence and the way that He has chosen to sew together the events in your life. Learn to trust the nature of God as the one who holds you within His plan.


© 2005, Levi Hill

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