I was off the grid for a couple of days. It was different not being able to communicate with others, but it was also relaxing. I was on a vacation at the ocean with some fun and delightful people I call family. It was quite coincidental that before I boarded the plane for my trip I was handed a book, a novella to be exact, called “Seaside”, written by Terri Blackstock.
The story is about an older woman who desires to take a short vacation on the ocean shores with her two grown daughters. She had found peace in her latter years and wanted to share that same peace with her daughters hoping that relationships could be healed. Part of the story plot mentions past regrets.
That word struck me. I had recently listened to a popular comedian tell her life story with that “R” word riddled throughout her testimony of life. I suppose as we get older we might have the opportunity to look back at our lives and possibly fill our life stories with many, “what ifs” or”if onlys”, if we allow ourselves to go down that path. I don’t think that those thoughts and words do anything positive for the soul.
I was talking to someone about these expressions; “if only” and “what if” and realized that perhaps God already knows our future, and just perhaps he already knows what choices we will make. (I say that in jest, as I understand it to be true.) So if that is the truth then there isn’t any room for an alternate dimension of ourselves making other decisions with different outcomes like we may see in the movies or read about in books. Instead there is a God that takes the choices we will or have made, right or wrong, and uses them for our good.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)
That is the crazy yet miraculous thing about walking with the Lord. Though we may have made “wrong” choices they may be the very choices that can actually be our spring-board into success, if we allow it. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying to go ahead and be stupid. I am saying when you make a mistake or go off the right path for you, God stands there ready to use that mistake as your stepping stone of strength to go from glory to glory. It might not necessarily be a wrong choice but a choice that leads you down a different path with unexpected consequences.
You hear these testimonies quit often. The rehabilitated drug addict turns around and is reaching out to other drug addicts to save them from destruction. The thief goes to prison and hears the gospel of hope then decides to share that hope with those imprisoned with him. The baby who was lost on the streets of a war torn country is adopted by loving parents who give her a good education. That education is later used when the individual finds her lost family and chooses to use the education she received to help those less fortunate from her homeland.
Let’s take a look at young Joseph who was thrown into a well by his brothers and then sold into slavery. Later in his life he is thrown into prison and forgotten for years. But eventually he is used by God to save a nation from famine, including his relatives that previously sold him. It was if he was predestined to be a slave and a prisoner in the land of Egypt .
Perhaps God knew what Joseph’s brothers were already going to do and so used their evil plan to save them from starvation. It was if God took what was meant for evil and used it for good.
“Even though you planned evil against me, God planned good to come out of it. This was to keep many people alive, as he is doing now.” Genesis 50:20 (GWT)
Possibly it is a choice of sin. Think about King David. There was a time that he desired Bathsheba and had her brought to his chamber. When he finds out that she is pregnant he summons her husband to come back from battle in hopes that he will stay with his wife. But when her husband decides not to sleep with his wife David realizes what he did and decides to have her husband transferred to the front of the battle where he is killed. All these wrong decisions create chaos as he tries to cover up his sin. But God is not blind to these things and David weeps with sorrow over his choices.
He then marries Bathsheba but the child that is born from their relationship dies of an illness. Later Bathsheba gives birth to another son and names him Solomon. From this bloodline comes the birth of Jesus, the Christ, the savior of the world. If you think about it, it is almost as if God predestined King David and Bathsheba to unite.
Perhaps God used all the wrong choices that he knew David would make for David’s good and for our good. Despite his choices David still loves God which causes him to repent in anguish. God sees his heart and still has a great purpose for him.
There is a God that takes the very choices that we make, and uses them for our good because he promises that all things will work together for good to those that love him and are called according to his purpose. He is capable of taking what was meant for evil and turning it around for our good.
Why? Because he already knows the choices we will make and even though we are sinners and often make bad decisions he uses those decisions and polishes them with his blood and then hands them back to us better than they were before.
So back to you and me. Do we make some wrong choices? Most likely. But should we live in regret? Not at all. Of course we should not live in sin, but if we do sin we should repent to restore our relationship with our Lord. But maybe the choice wasn’t sinful but just not the best option. Still there should be no regrets. Regret is for those who have no hope. We have hope. We have hope that the God of creation, the God of salvation, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will turn all things around for good in our lives because we are called for his purpose and because we love our Lord.
On a personal note I remember a time when it seemed I made one wrong choice after another. I thought about the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13. The seeds planted on good soil reaped a crop up to 100 times what was sown. I called out honestly to the Lord saying, “I have made a crap load of wrong choices how can I reap a harvest?” Then I heard him speak tenderly deep inside my spirit. “But what do farmers use to plant a good crop?” I realized they use manure (aka: crap). It would be those very choices that the seeds of my faith would fall into. The crop springing from those decisions are returning to me as blessings because I surrendered them to the Lord, instead of fretting over them.
Trust him. He seriously loves you and me more than we understand. And he can turn any wrong choice into a blessing as long as you let him, even things that were NOT YOUR choice but were dealt unjustly to you by someone else. Hand them to the Lord and he will give them back as a blessing. He still is a miracle worker. He is amazing!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (N(V)