Regrets came knocking again the other day, and I struggled with guilt and shame. Father, I wonder how You even put up with me, let alone love me! Over and over I’ve listened to doubt instead of to You and missed the blessings Your love offered.
Nevertheless, You once more saw my distress and spoke peace to me. You brought Scriptures to mind along with hymns I learned as a youth. Then you sang this little chorus to my heart with a familiar melody:
Underneath Christ's blood, underneath His blood,
All my sins and failures are underneath His blood.
Come rejoice with me! We can all be free
When we place our sins and failures underneath the blood.
Thank You, God, for being so patient with me! You are so gracious and merciful! I love You, Lord, because of Your amazing love.
I almost got pulled down into that snake hole of regrets. Again. This time, though, I saw the way of escape. I said aloud to myself, “I am determined to forget what lies behind and to shut the door on regrets and lock it. Today is real. I can live in today. The past is no longer a reality for me. I can’t live there. I am determined to live today!” (“Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.”—2 Samuel 14:14 New Living Translation)
Then I thought maybe Jesus was saying, “Come. Let us reason together. Though your sins were like scarlet, now you are white as snow. Every sin was washed away in the blood of the cross. Those sins were removed as far as east from west, forgotten never to be remembered again. Even your poor choices have not interfered with My continued love for you and goodness to you.”
God has loved me with an everlasting love. His plans cannot be thwarted. He can use everything in my life to make me into the person He wants me to be. He doesn’t regret making me His child. Jesus isn’t sorry He died for me.
Thank You, Father! Thank You, Lord Jesus!
(See 1 Corinthians 10:13, Philippians 3:13, Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 103:12, Romans 8:38-39, Jeremiah 31:3, Job 42:2, and Romans 8:28.)
I dislike having to make decisions because I worry that I’ll make the “wrong” choice. My experience over the years shows that all too often I’ve chosen ways that I end up regretting. So why do I regret what I’ve decided? Sometimes it’s because other people are angry at how I’ve dealt with a situation. Other times it’s just that I’m miserable with the results of my choice. Or I look over at the roads I didn’t take and think they look better and “if only” I’d chosen that way, then….
“If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” –Psalm 139:8-10 New King James Version
Maybe God is telling me with these verses that no matter where my decisions land me, His Spirit is there. I can rest in Him and trust His guidance even in that place. God is there where I am. If I look to Him in trust instead of leaning on those old ways of thinking about the past and what I probably “should have done,” He gives me peace. He helps me remember things like, “Other people’s anger is their problem, not mine.” He reminds me that He satisfies my soul, that He’s more than enough, and that He loves me and will never leave or forsake me. Then I can relax because my Father is there, and He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7).
A lot of regrets have plagued me over the years, and some of them came up as I walked and meditated on Jesus’ teaching about God in John 14-17. I wondered if God would help me feel better about those things. After all, those feelings didn’t seem to be interfering with my life, so maybe they weren’t important.
But I remembered the day that God had helped me with some other feelings over 25 years ago. Back then Id struggled with guilt over a particular sin for 4 years. I’d talked to people who reassured me that I was forgiven or that what I had done wasn’t really a sin after all. Or I would tell myself those same things. I could push the guilt away then, but it always came back. Finally on that day, I cried out to Father God, “How can I get rid of this guilt?” And God answered! He placed thoughts in my mind through His Spirit which led me to true repentance and helped me receive the forgiveness He so freely offered.
Now 25+ years later I was reminded of foolish choices and mistakes that weren’t sinful, but instead just regrettable. I sat down and wrote in my notebook about 7 of them and told God that I thought they were keeping me from focusing on Him. Then this thought occurred to me, “Actually all these actions (or inactions) that I’m regretting illustrate what a poor job I did in trying to control my own life.” In March of 1983, I started learning to yield control of my life to Jesus. (I’ve found it’s a learning process. It doesn’t happen all at once.)
So instead of continuing to chide myself, I decided that the time had come to choose with Paul to forget the past and look ahead, straining “to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” (Philippians 3:13-14 New Living Translation)