Regret. What a nasty thing. It happens when you know the thing you should do and you fail to step up to the plate and go for it, and then the moment is past and it’s too late. Some of those moments are small, and though we feel the sting of our lost opportunity, soon we just move on and it doesn’t seem to have much impact. But the big things, the decisions that can be so big as even to alter the course of our lives – those are the ones that haunt us.
I lived with regret like that for a long time. (Notice I said “lived”, past tense — read on, there is hope!). For years I knew the right thing to do, but the courage to do it just wasn’t there. Then one day, the opportunity was no more; there was no chance for a victorious finish to this one. It was discouraging and I felt like such a failure. Regret hung over my head like a big black cloud.
Ah, but God. As I have come to know Him more and more, I have discovered that this all powerful, great and mighty God about whom there is legitimate reason to fear is also the embodiment of love. He absolutely loves people and lavishes His favor on those who are His own. To the Israelites, who were suffering as a result of their own choices to disobey God, God said, “I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV). It is not God’s desire to see people writhe in the pain resulting from the wrong choices they make. He wants to give hope and life!
For me, His blessing came when another hard “right thing to do opportunity” was again before me. This time I prayed. This time I leaned on the strength of my Father God, I didn’t try to go it alone. I sought out the support of friends who love me. And I did the hard thing, the right thing. If you’ve experienced something similar, I’m sure it will resonate when I tell you that the joy I felt was beyond words! My sorrow over the past was washed away in the victory of the present!
Are you facing a tough challenge right now? (If you’re not, just hang in there, difficult choices are sure to come.) If you’ve sought God’s wisdom on the right thing to do (James 1:5), and you know what it is, then pray and lean on God’s strength. Ask Him for the courage to step forward and do it. Instead of reaping regret, you can feel the joy of delight. That doesn’t mean that everything will necessarily turn out all wonderful on the outside, but even if it creates difficulty outwardly, you can know the delight of no regret within. Joy instead of regret — very much worth doing a difficult right thing!