[b]Deliverance From Regrets[/b]
[i]by Zac Poonen[/i]
Regrets over past failures may torment the minds of some of us. We may have missed God's will in some issue and are now unable to correct it. But regret is futile, for it will only eat up our spiritual vitality and leave us totally unfit for any service for God. Failure should be confessed to God, Who is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us immediately (1 John 1:7,9). He has also promised not to remember our past sins (Heb. 8:12). If God does not harp on our past there is no need for us to agonize over it. We should therefore turn our back once and for all on those failures. It may not be possible to rectify the blunders, but we can ask the Lord to use the rest of our life, for His glory.
David fell very low when he sinned with Bathsheba and then had her husband, Uriah, killed. Yet instead of living the rest of his life in regret, he came back to God in brokenness and repentance. Accepting God's forgiveness, he lived thereafter for God's glory. The Holy Spirit recorded later that David pleased the Lord in all his life, except in the matter of Uriah (1 Kings 15:5). If David had allowed regret to plague his mind, he would only have grieved the Lord further. Those who live with the weight of regret perpetually on their minds only succeed in adding failure to failure. We must forget past failures and press forward to fulfil God's will (cf. Phil. 3:13,14). God can restore to us the years that have been lost (Joel 2:25).
Another temptation is to worry over a past decision which at the time we felt convinced was in the will of God, but which we now doubt. Perhaps the decision has led us into trouble. Or maybe we are now aware of facts which had we known then, might have led us to a different decision. The principle we should always bear in mind is: Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown in the light. If we sincerely sought the will of God and decided according to the light we then had, there is no need to look back now in regret. God is not a cruel despot who delights in making fools of us. He is a loving Father and He will not give us a stone if we ask for bread. If we sought His will sincerely, we can be sure God overruled everything to let us decide rightly. Even the facts that we were ignorant of then, must have been withheld by God with a purpose.
God gave Paul and Silas clear directions at Troas to go to Macedonia, and they went immediately. Yet soon after arrival, they were locked up in prison with their feet in stocks. They could have wondered then whether their sense of guidance was wrong. Had they known their fate in advance they might never have left Troas. But God gave them no warning. Though put in prison, Paul and Silas trusted God. Refusing to doubt in the darkness what God had shown them in the light, they continued to praise Him (Acts 16:8-26). Later events clearly showed they were indeed in the will of God. Getting into trouble is, by itself, no indication that we are out of God's will. If we trust God we shall praise Him in the thickest darkness without any regrets.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon