There is always that one thing.
You know–that one more thing you needed to do. One more thing you wanted to say.
Until you can’t.
When it’s too late to turn back, or the moment is lost in oblivion, you have to face the reality that life must go on, and that only God can fully know the consequence of
set aside plans,
Commonly carrying the weight of “what if” or “if only I would have or could have”, we are burdened with the past instead of focused on the future.
“So what now?” Where do we go when we seem to be drowning under the weight of our regrets?
The beauty of the Bible is that God takes life’s ordinary–and some not so ordinary circumstances to remind us of His truth.
Paul writes to the church in Philippi while imprisoned in Rome, and yet he seems to be writing this letter of encouragement with an underlying sense of joy.
“…always praying with joy…” (Philippians 1, v.4); “And in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice…” (ch.l, v.18); “…fulfill my joy…” (ch.2, v.4); “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord…” (ch.3, v.1); “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!” (ch.4, v.4)
In my mind’s eye I can well imagine the thoughts that might be running through my head if I were the one imprisoned for the sake of the gospel:
“Why me, Lord? Why, while I am serving you and trying to be obedient– this happens?” Followed by, “What did I do wrong? Should I have done something differently?”, the “if only” statements going on and on, changing absolutely nothing.
The God of the universe sees. He knows right where you are and where you have been, but more importantly–
He knows where you are going.
And step by step He will lead you to the next thing.
Paul’s encouragement is for us to keep our focus–not on the past and what we could have done, but on going forward in a way that honors Christ:
“Just one thing: live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (ch.1, v.27)
In Chapter 2 he goes on to tell us how we can do that:
“Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus…” (ch.2, v.5)
His attitude? Humble and obedient.
Being one to question myself easily, I can fall into the trap of thinking that my actions and my attitudes could never measure up. I tell myself that I already know I will fail Him in some way. Polar opposite of this admonition, pride and disobedience come knocking on the door of my mind, and if I’m not careful, I let down my guard and let in God’s opponent. (Does that remind you of Satan’s question to Eve in the garden: “Did God really say…?)
While to the world humility and obedience seem to be weaknesses, in the Bible they are actually depicted as strength.
So God gives us verse 13:
“For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose.” (ch.2, v.13)
Do you see how good our God is? He knows our weakness. He sees our regrets. He reminds us that we are not on this journey alone. He does the work in and through us if we will just walk by faith, a journey that starts with surrender. Choosing to let Him lead my life, I must turn from sin and recognize Him as the only one who can save me from a life of regret. When we humbly place our faith in Him, He promises that He will never leave us. You can read more about how to become a follower of Christ here: FAITH
While we may still have regrets in this life, the decision to follow God’s plan is one that we will never regret. These two verses in Philippians 4 are probably some of the most practical verses you could ever memorize:
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise–dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
Those questions that haunt you? You can focus on the “If only’s” and “what if’s” of your past, but they will continue to cloud your days and hinder your visibility if you allow them to. Walking away from those thoughts can be a real challenge if we try to conquer them alone…
He can forgive any past wrong. He can take our regrets and replace them with vision and passion for the things that really matter.
And He brings peace–and even joy–despite our circumstance, when our focus is on Him.
One of the ways I focus on God is to memorize His word. I am still working through every book of the Bible and memorizing at least one verse from every book. If you have followed my Scripture Memory Challenge, this is the verse I am memorizing from Philippians:
Won’t you join me on this journey of faith? I have regrets in my life–we all do, but I have never regretted following God’s plan. His promises are true. His Word is dependable. He is faithful.