Usually, when someone describes something as trailing, I automatically go to the word aftermath and think of hurricanes, tornadoes, and cyclones. Big winds come, leaving destruction that cannot be missed. There is little that is left to the imagination. Homes, forests, and anything that has been planted into the earth is torn and mutilated.
There is an interesting irony in the word association. Wakes are seen as negative events, except when one is thinking about water skiing. Aftermath is often associated with the destruction left by fires, floods, or other disasters. Trailing is the most neutral, however it is often heard as something behind. There is an alternative to the negative.
What about the trailing indicators of compassion? What about the aftermath of love? What about the wake left by mercy?
I recently experienced the joy of watching someone stepping out in faith. An individual trusted that being open, honest, and accountable would bring a positive outcome. When good events followed he came back to me with a thankful story. I listened and heard an echo of an old reminder of David’s; “Your strength, God, is the king’s strength. Helped, he’s hollering Hosannas.” (Psalm 21.1)
I wonder if I realize the full extent of the trailing stories in my life and those around me. I know I notice the negative ones. They are hard to miss! Recent examples include the aftermath of death, the trailing uncertainty of surgery, and the wake of evil at work. The negative is overwhelming so I stop, struggling to maintain my grasp of hope. As I reflect this morning, I can see there is more to the stories. I see a father praising Hope found in the God even as death’s sting remains fresh. I see one choosing to make a positive difference even as he wrestles with the Darkness of the unknown. I can feel the joy in being in the presence one choosing to see the positive in the sea of doubt.
I see Evil’s handiwork. If I am willing to see more, I can see evidence of God.