Do you regret some of the choices you’ve made in life? Do you wish you could go back in time and do things differently? Even though we can’t go back and re-live the decisions we’ve made in life, the truth is that we really don’t have to.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Many times people regret the choices they have made. Things haven’t worked out quite as they had expected or hoped, and they think their lives would be so much better had they done differently. Perhaps you wish you had gone to a different school, majored in something else, married someone else, chosen a different career or employer, or could change any of a number of life-affecting decisions. Yet the truth of the matter is that not only is this not possible, from a Biblical perspective it might not even be desirable.
Our greatest desire in life is usually the most pleasure and least pain and discomfort, yet God understands that this kind of life might diminish our desire to seek Him. If we have everything in life, we may not ever see our desperate need for God: “…you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked–“ (Revelation 3:17 NKJV) So, God allows us to go through circumstances that show us that we do not have everything, that show us our emptiness, loneliness, even our pain without Him. And when we start seeing our poverty in His eyes and turn to Him to heal us, then God does even more.
He then shows us that not only has He used the bad decisions and unpleasant circumstances in our lives to mold us more into the image of Christ, but also that He wants to use us to affect the eternal destinies of those around us. In other words, it’s already been good for us, but it’s also going to be good for others, if we do our job.
Say, for example, you have a difficult person you’re stuck with. It could be a spouse, a landlord or tenant, an employer or employee, a grown child or other relation, a neighbor, or anyone else. You might wish the situation could go away, that you wouldn’t have to interact with that person anymore, but God wants to use you to draw this person into a closer relationship with Him and give them a better understanding of who He is.
Think about this–your “mistake” isn’t a mistake; it’s a commission, a Divine appointment! While God never wants us to sin, He does know what’s happening and uses our errors, sins, and bad decisions for good, if we but realize it and let Him use us. The Old Testament story of Joseph is a great example of this. In this case, it wasn’t Joseph’s sins but his brothers’ that placed him in terrible circumstances, but while they meant it for evil, God used it for good to save the entire family. It is an example of all things working for good to those who love God.
Look around you. Are all of the people in your life closely following Christ? Do they even know Him? Do they even know you know Him? If not, you are not in this circumstance by accident; God has allowed you to be placed there to shine the light of the knowledge of Him into a dark life. Remember that Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)
So, the next time you’re discouraged and wish you had done things differently, remember that you don’t need a re-do on life. All you need is to really love God from the bottom of your heart, then rest in His promise that because you do, all things indeed work for good–in your life as He increasingly molds you into the person He wants you to be, and in the lives of others as He uses you to spread the knowledge and love of Christ to those around you!
Thank You that all things do work together for good to those who love You, who are called according to Your purpose. Please use me in the lives of others to show them You! Amen.