The word of the day on my Merriam-Webster app is “retrodict.” It’s a verb that means, “to use new information to explain the past.” Wouldn’t that be handy? I’d love to be able to explain some of the things that have happened to me in the past. For example, we couldn’t understand why God wasn’t answering our prayers for our international adoption to go through… until years later when God miraculously gave us two sons biologically.
I bet that’s the way Joseph… of Old Testament fame… felt as he trekked across the wilderness from his home on the way to Egypt, having become the victim of human trafficking when his brothers sold him to some passing slave traders. It couldn’t have made sense. He probably had nothing to compare it to. He probably wondered why this was happening? How could God let it happen? What about his dreams… the ones God had given him?
I bet he still would have liked to have been able to explain what had happened in the past as he sat in an Egyptian jail, having been falsely accused of attempted rape by his owner’s wife when he would not give into to her advances. He had risen to the top of the hierarchy among the slaves in that home? Why did this happen?
I bet he still wished he could explain his past when he remained in jail, even after helping one of Pharaoh’s prominent servants get out of prison when he interpreted his dream. The man promised he would help get Joseph out, but he forgot… and Joseph remained in prison.
It wasn’t until Joseph had been remembered, interpreted Pharaoh’s troubling dream, been named second in command of the most powerful nation on the earth at the time, rescued his nations, and his brothers knelt before him begging for food to save their family that Joseph was able to retrodict… to use new information to explain the past. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph tells his brothers that what they meant for harm to him, God intended to use to save their family’s lives and thus fulfill the dreams He had given Joseph as a teenager.
Maybe today you can’t explain the stuff that has gone wrong in your life. Don’t give up. Keep being your best. Keep trusting God and honoring Him. There will be a day when He gives you new information which will make it possible for you to interpret, understand and explain what has happened to you in the past. One day, it will all make sense. Until then, let it be enough to know that day is coming, and God is with you.