From Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber:
“I am not sure I trust myself enough to feel confident in declaring that God is involved in something, especially if it’s my own project. But I can pretty consistently see God in retrospect. I mean, in any given moment I am so filled with doubt and self-interest and ambition and neurosis that it’s hard to be tuned into God. But after something surprising or intensely beautiful happens, usually in spite of me and my machinations, then I begin to suspect God.”
Indeed, it is so much easier to identify God’s involvement looking back “in the rear-view mirror.” I suppose that is in large part because I was not anticipating/expecting/seeking God’s involvement at the time. (“Lord, help me” is more often an acknowledgment of being in a mess than it is a true request for God’s assistance.) Most likely, I was just in a mess and was willing to accept relief from any source. (A drowning man rarely inquires as to qualification or intent of the source of the lifesaver being thrown his way.) Having the issue resolved, I have time to (and may) take a deep breath, look back, and contemplate the what just happened. Often, I can rule out attributing the resolution to my own efforts, and attributing it to “just dumb luck” seems such a poor option. Then, and only then, does God’s grace start to enter as an option. I’m just slow on the uptake.