Afterwards you will understand

(J. R. Miller, "Miller's Year Book—a Year's Daily Readings")

"He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel He had around Him." John 13:4-5
"What I am doing, you do not understand now—but afterwards you will understand." John 13:7

At this time Peter did not know why the Messiah he really needed—was a Messiah with basin and towel. He was thinking of a Messiah with throne and crown and scepter and earthly pomp! He did not understand it—until after the blood of Calvary had been shed. Christ referred to these days by "afterwards."

This saying of Christ, however, may be used in a much wider sense. There are a great many things that He does, which at the time we cannot understand; yet in due time—all of them will become clear. As they appear to us, while we are passing through them, they are unfinished acts; when the work is completed—it will appear beautiful. This is especially true of many mysterious providences in our lives. One time Jacob thought and said, "All these things are against me!" But he lived to see that the very things which he thought were against him—were really all working together for his good.

So it is always, in the providences of God with His own people. "We know that all things work together for good, to those who love God."

The back side of a tapestry appears to be a mystery of tangle and confusion—but there is a beautiful picture on the other side. Just so—we are looking at our lives, largely on the back side. We cannot see the Master's plan—until 'afterwards'.