“Saints are ordinary people who do what they do for the love of Jesus, say what they must say without fear, love their neighbor even when they are cursed by him, and live without regret over yesterday or fear of tomorrow.”
It’s easy to look back on my life and think, “If only I did or didn’t do _____.” Fortunately, during times of regret, I utilize God’s gift of repentance so I can receive the gift of His forgiveness. More times than not, I have watched God redeem my regret.
Living with regrets and wanting to go back in time and reverse the choices we’ve made may feel like we’re stuck, but sometimes that’s the motivation needed for transformation. Our if onlys seem to hold us back, but God can use them for our good. Our regrets can push us into something much better. During the last few years of my Dad’s life, he pondered some of the choices he had made, which caused regret. But in the end, it was his desire to deal with those regrets, which led him to seek and find Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
John, chapter eleven shares the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. Prior to his death, his sisters sent word to Jesus asking Him to come and heal their brother. Jesus did not drop everything when He got the message. Instead He waited a few days before making the trek to see Lazarus.
In the Passion Translation of John 11:21 and 32, both Martha and Mary said similar statements to Jesus when they saw Him, four days after Lazarus had died. “If only You had come sooner, or had been here, my brother would not have died.” Both sisters believed if only Jesus had arrived immediately after they had sent their message to Him, their brother Lazarus would still be alive. If Jesus had come when requested, if there wasn’t an if only, they would have all missed the miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection.
Just as in this story, often our if onlys can turn into something much better than we dreamed of, especially when Jesus gets involved. Only God can supernaturally change our regrets into beauty. He alone can resurrect our if onlys and make what was dead, come alive.
“For of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest of these: ‘It might have been.'”
When have you seen God redeem a regret in your life?
What personal if onlys motivate you to change?