(Photo by Frank Albrecht via Unsplash)
I remember my parents having arguments about this idea of regret. My mom would look back and wonder if she could have done things differently or better, (and don’t we all relate to that)? And my dad would get angry because he didn’t want her to feel regret over the decisions they had made. So when we talk about living life with no regrets, did you think that’s how it would be? That I would be here telling you that you should never have any regrets ever and I’m mad at you for even thinking that? No, my friend, that is not what I’m here to tell you. We all have regrets, we all have mom/mum guilt, but I want to talk about the hope we also have to move forward with out dwelling on those regrets.
In the Bible, Jesus describes a wise man and a foolish man. If you are not familiar with this passage, you can find it in Matthew 7:24-27:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (NIV)
I’m originally from Florida, and in Florida every single year we deal with multiple hurricanes and tropical storms. The stores sell out of plywood and water and canned goods every single time there is a storm warning. So, for some of my time in Florida, we lived in Vero Beach. Our house was not on the beach, but who can guess who had the houses, i.e. mansions on the beach? That’s right, the rich people. There were even quite a few movie stars who had mansions on the beach in Vero. Now, some of the time, these storms would come and their houses would be ok. But other times, we may get hit with one or two storms, and that was a different story. I can remember one year we had a hurricane come straight toward Vero that was a category 3. Now there are 5 categories, so a 3 isn’t so bad when you are used to hurricanes. However, this storm started to turn when it hit Vero Beach, so instead of passing through in a day, it was a few days of constant wind and rain and downpour. Then, within a few more days, another hurricane hit. This was one of those times when the houses on the beach were absolutely wiped out. They were essentially washed away, and I’m certain the people, rich or not, who had investments of houses or property on the beach regretted their decision in that moment, because they had nothing left.
Building our life on the rock of Jesus and His teaching is the only way we can look back on the things we regret and know that He can make the best of those situations. He can take the awful words we said or the selfish decision we made and give us grace and healing, He can give our families healing, our marriages, whatever it is.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.”
Friends, if you know Jesus, then you can take courage in these words. Anything you have done or said or felt or regretted, He will take and use it for good. If you don’t know if you have this hope, I want to tell you a story.
There was a woman years ago that was lonely and, in fact, an outcast in her village. (Do any of you feel lonely in your village?) She didn’t want to see anyone, and this was a long time ago, so in order to avoid the crowds, she went to gather her daily water in the hottest part of the day, because she knew that everyone would be home resting in the shade and she could get some time alone and not be bothered. I imagine she felt lonely and isolated just like you might feel right now if you have struggled with postpartum depression or anxiety or any other mental health things. She expected to go there alone, but what she didn’t expect was to see a man. And not just any man, but a Jewish man. You see, back when she lived, the place where she was from was disliked by the Jews. I can almost feel the dread she might have experienced when she walked up to the well that day. But, she needed water, so up she went to face whatever this encounter might bring.
You might have guessed by now that the Jewish man was Jesus. Jesus went out of His way to see this woman. He knew she had no hope, and He also knew that He could offer her the hope her heart longed for.
So Jesus asks her for a drink of water. She must have thought Jesus would ignore her, because she says to Him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?”
John 4:10-14 says,
"Jesus answered her,“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
I don’t know where you’re at in your spiritual journey. If you don’t know Jesus, you might be thirsty, wondering what’s true and right in this world full of sadness and grief. You might be wondering how to even have hope. I just want to encourage you now to just consider looking into the life of Jesus. If you don’t have a Bible, you can look up Bible apps and start reading today. Maybe start in the gospel of John where we have just read. What could it hurt to try reading a bit and just see if God has something to say to you through His Word?
Living life with no regrets is not an easy journey, but we can move forward knowing that God loves us and wants any regrets we do have to be used for His good.