This is not a time of year to be melancholy…I get that. But lately I’ve been thinking about some poor decisions I’ve made in the past and one in particular is starting to bother me (again). Never mind what it is. If you’re human, you likely have a few regrettable decisions in your past too.
As the year draws to a close, I want very much to start 2016 with a sense of hope—a sense that all my past decisions, both bad and good, can be used by God to form the tapestry of a life happily lived. Yes, even the poor decisions we make can be redeemed by God. In fact, those are the decisions that most need to be redeemed. Rarely does God need to redeem our right decisions.
I know all the clichéd responses to the way I feel: “Just give it to Jesus.” “Don’t let the enemy use this memory to distract you.” “God remembers your sins no more, and you should forget them too.” They’re all true, I don’t deny that. But I’m reaching for more.
I’m looking for a positive outcome of my poor decisions. That may sound a bit like an oxymoron: how can a bad decision have a positive outcome? Even so, I believe any and all our past decisions, mistakes, sins, wrong turns…whatever we want to call them…are turned to our eventual good as we surrender them to God (even when our past decisions were sinful choices from which we repented). But as you know, doing that requires walking not by sight, but by faith. And while we’re in the waiting process to see a good outcome, we can waste time running those bad past decisions through our memory again and again, rethinking how we should have done that part of our life differently.
Last night I went to sleep rethinking that part of my life. I woke up today slightly better. God seems to be reminding me that in cases like this, I have to trust His long term faithfulness to me. Really, like you, I can search my memory all day and not recall a time when God has failed me. Often His faithfulness was revealed after the passage of time. I think that’s what’s going on now. Time still must pass before I see the good fruit of a poor decision.
With the new year approaching, maybe you can join me in waiting in expectancy for good to come from poor decisions we made in the past. While we’re waiting, let’s not forget to pray about our situation. Prayer changes circumstances and it changes us.
Tell you what: you pray for me and I’ll pray for you.
May all of our past mistakes turn to golden threads in 2016. Happy New Year!