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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hindsight is 20/20


I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what's true and right.  Oh, love me—and right now—hold me tight, just the way you promised.  Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to. 
(Psalm 119:75-77 The Message)

It goes without saying that "hindsight" is often much better than "foresight".  If we could see how everything would turn out in the end, we might not take some of the steps we take.  If we had insight into the outcomes of some of our words and actions, we might speak up or volunteer more often.  The simple truth is that we don't know how things will end - - and this often keeps us from acting in the first place, or acting in "blindness".

Hindsight is the recognition of the realities, possibilities, or requirements of a situation / decision AFTER it occurs.  It is this idea of hindsight that caused us to coin the phrase, "Monday Morning Quarterbacking".  We can call all the right moves NOW, knowing when to run the ball or when to pass it, simply because we know the OUTCOME of the passes or runs we already chose!  In the field I am in, I spend time investigating outcomes of care - - was it successful, did we follow our protocols, did the treatment planned result in the best outcomes for the patient?  I am doing a whole lot of Monday Morning Quarterbacking!

Foresight is knowledge or insight gained by looking forward into the future.  Most of us don't have crystal balls (at least I don't think we do - - after all, God doesn't really cater to the use of them!).  In its simplest form, foresight is the act of looking FORWARD.  We may not fully grasp the things we behold, but in the FORWARD look, we get some insight that causes us to move forward.  Some believe that foresight involves a whole lot of faith - - stepping out into the unknown.  

This morning, I would like us to consider this term in the sense of being a surveyor.  The term "foresight" is used to describe a reading taken on a point of unknown elevation.  There are two types of readings that are taken - - intermediate and true.  The intermediate reading focuses on a point that will NOT be used as a turning point or benchmark in the process.  The true reading focuses on an UNKNOWN point that WILL be used for a turning point or a benchmark.  The turning point is a point along the way that is established as a benchmark.  Its purpose is to provide a new reference point - - like a stake in the ground.  

Now, don't get lost on this point.  Here's the good stuff!  In the use of both the BACK-SIGHT (hindsight) and the FORE-SIGHT, the surveyor is able to determine the elevation.  That small point in the scope marked as a turning point (benchmark) is simply a temporary focus point.  This benchmark is used to focus on the next point, and that one on the next, and so on.  If there are any surveyors reading this, I may not have done this concept justice, but I tried!

The two "sights" have to be used together in order to get a true measure of the elevation!  The same is true in our daily walk.  We can determine our "elevation" by the "hindsight" and the "foresight" readings!  We may determine that we are making progress toward higher "elevations", or we might just find that we have come to a valley of some sort.  Either way, those "points" are analyzed with the use of both "sights".

David reminds us that in "looking back" and considering what "lays ahead", he sees the wisdom of God's ways.  He has learned to use both "sights" to guide his walk.  Here is the challenge for us - - learning to not rely on one without the other!  Both serve a purpose and keep us on target.  One without the other gives us a false sense of "reality".  So, don't be afraid of "looking back" on occasion to get your "reference point".  Those benchmarks along the way are not put there to point out where we have been, but to ensure us that we have an accurate view of the heights that lay ahead!