Until it’s too Late.
“Out of an abundance of caution” is a phrase we’re hearing a lot recently. The context revolves around the imposition of restrictions and border closures associated with fresh Covid-19 cases. And much as we don’t like our movements restricted, most of us accept that we need to be vigilant and cautious; that the inherent risk of unfettered movement is not worth taking; that if and when things don’t work out as we’d hope – it’s too late. The damage is done!
A clear example of this was the stance taken by a major political party some years ago against the incumbent government’s policy to turn back illegal immigrants arriving by boat in many a dangerous attempt to circumvent immigration policy. Upon gaining government, that particular political party quickly reversed the policy – which subsequently cost hundreds of lives. The damage was tragic and irreversible!
In a different context – and also some years ago – Benjamin Spock led the way among child-rearing professionals in instructing parents not to discipline their children. He said that doing so would damage their children’s ego. But later in his life, in 1974, he wrote a book entitled “How not to bring up a bratty child” in which he admitted he’d made a mistake. “We have reared a generation of brats” he wrote. “Parents aren’t firm enough with their children for fear of losing their love or incurring their resentment. This is a cruel deprivation that we professionals have imposed on mothers and fathers. Of course, we did it with the best of intentions. We didn’t realize until it was too late how our know-it-all attitude was undermining the self-assurance of parents.”
Yes, by then it was too late. The unfortunate outcome could not be reversed.
Faced with unfortunate – and largely unexpected – outcomes of our actions, we will often say something like “hindsight is a wonderful thing”. What we mean is that in looking back and seeing how something didn’t work as planned, we would definitely do it differently if given another opportunity.
In scriptural accounts of the crucifixion, when Jesus died, there were people present who had mocked him during his trial and subsequent crucifixion, but now looked back with changed attitudes. And when the centurion, and those with him who were guarding Jesus, witnessed the earthquake and the sky turning black, they were mortified at the realization that they had been complicit in this most terrible injustice. More than that, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
Likewise, Judas. He had betrayed Jesus, then watched as his Lord and Teacher was condemned to death. Seized with remorse, deeply regretting his treachery and powerless to turn the clock back, the hapless Judas took his own life!
But it has to be said that hindsight can also be a powerful tool of affirmation. When we make good decisions and act wisely; when we see positive results emanating from thoughtful and careful planning; when we decide to invest our future in the hands of God and trust his promises; and when we embrace the hope and salvation he gifts us through Jesus, we will inevitably experience the profound peace that flows from knowing that “all is well with my soul”.