Retrospective Analysis (Romans 5:3-5)

A retrospective analysis occurs when we look backwards and review and analyze the variables or conditions that may have led to the outcome or result. This is frequently done in medicine and in my practice of dermatopathology. For example, after reading a new medical article that makes an astute and novel observation about some disease, I often go back through my study case files and examine cases of that disease, searching for the new observations that were described in the article. In the majority of cases, I am pleased to discover the article does indeed describe a previously overlooked detail and I am continually dumbfounded why I never made the previous observation. 

What is true in medicine is even more true for my spiritual life. When I am going through a difficult period, I am sometimes unable to see God’s Hand and His providence guiding and directing the situation. How can the loss of my mother through a painful bout of cancer be something I can rejoice over? How can a worldwide pandemic with the loss of countless lives and jobs be meaningful? So many questions and no immediate solutions. Am I willing to do a retrospective analysis and allow God to show me His purpose and plans?

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)

I don’t like encountering problems or trials but I can accept them when I realize that God is helping me to develop endurance, leading to complete assurance of my salvation in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I am unable to rejoice in the moment. Only upon retrospective analysis will I be able to see that God was using the situation to bring me into a deeper understanding of Himself. I overlooked a fine detail that God was using to sharpen my faith. When I look in the rear view mirror of God’s actions in my life, I can confidently look forward to God’s guidance in every problem I encounter. 

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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