The Before and The After

havishamIn Charles Dickens’ famous novel Great Expectations, Miss Havisham encounters a traumatic betrayal when her fiancé leaves her jilted at the altar. She lives out the rest of her days wearing her bridal gown, with every clock in her house stopped on the moment she got word of the betrayal. The cake begins to rot on the table while Miss Havisham’s dress becomes tattered and faded. She lives only to inflict her pain on those around her. She never recovers from the day the clocks stopped in her life.

Have you ever experienced a moment when your world seemed to change in an instant? Perhaps you learned of the betrayal of a friend or spouse or the death of a loved one. Maybe you expected a promotion only to leave your boss’s office bewildered by the news of termination. Or perhaps you’ve experienced emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.

Joseph could have divided his life into the same two categories: before and after his brothers betrayed him. I can only imagine seventeen-year-old Joseph in the bottom of that pit. Was he begging his brothers to release him? Joseph went from hero to zero in a very short time. While we may never be able to make sense of the devastation that often invades our lives when we least expect it, we can find glimpses of hope in the midst of our despair just as Joseph did. His clocks didn’t stop forever like Miss Havisham’s. Instead, he found a road to healing even while living in captivity.

Whether you are living in the “before” or “after” of some difficult event or time in your life, take a moment to count the blessings from God that you’ve seen just this week. Has He provided for a financial need? Has He given you grace to deal with difficult people? Has He prospered your work? Did He bring some relief from physical pain?

Like the psalmist, take this posture: “My eyes strain to see . . . / the truth of your promises fulfilled” (Psalm 119:123). God is faithful. Ask Him to give you eyes to see His favor that otherwise you might have missed through the haze of hardship.

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