To live our lives so that we don’t regret anything — this is what some people believe in. And yet, regret is not just that feeling of sorrow or despair over something that we should have or shouldn’t have done. It is also that pain over some wrongs that have been done to us.
I had a few regrets of my own over things I’d done these past several years; however, these were regrets I easily made peace with. And that was because I’ve done my best in following God, and I’ve done my best in keeping my faith, and so whatever mistakes I’d made, I was able to forgive myself.
But what of the other kind of regret? Well, I do have plenty of that, and I’m still limping even now, and I still sometimes bleed because of wounds that are taking a long time to heal.
For these past several years I’ve been fighting spiritual battles on different fronts. And even though many things had not turned out as I’d hoped, I’ve been steadfast in my faith nonetheless, and so I have no regrets in that regard. After all, God has different standards for success, and despite my outward situation, I know that I have not failed him. However, whether or not I’m victorious, the consequences of those battles — in my soul and in my life — still remain.
No, I will not talk about those things anymore. I may look bad now in other people’s eyes, and ugly things may be said about me, but God knows everything, and on his justice alone I hope.
Suffice it to say that instead of my life being finally settled after these many years of want and of waiting on God, it’s still in a great state of flux….
And that instead of being an active and a respected member of a local church ministry, I am once again churchless….
And that instead of earning my livelihood by doing what I’m good at and what I love best — serving God through blogging and writing — I’ve been judged, rejected, and betrayed (and by the very people whom I trusted with my life!), so that building Swordsman of the Word has been such a struggle for me, and then, in the end, I’ve been forced to suspend all my works.
Yes, I have a lot to regret about! The years of my life that were lost the greatest of them! And if not because of the fact that God is perfectly just, and that he’s the one who’s in control of my life — even in the midst of my troubles; and if not because of his promise of rest and comfort in the midst of my pains, I would have already drowned in my regrets. And I would probably have also despaired beyond hope.
JESUS: Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.Matthew 11:28-30 WEB
Some have the notion that following Christ is easy, painless, and stress-free. Some even subscribe to the dangerous and insidious teaching that there are no struggles and sufferings if we are in God’s “perfect will” (and so, if our way is filled with hardships and pains, we couldn’t be truly following God!) But nothing could be farther from the truth.
This invitation from Jesus to come to him and take up his yoke — that is, to surrender our lives to him, and to live for him — does not mean a life that is free of pains and troubles. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Other parts of the Scriptures make it clear that the Christian’s life very much involves suffering — from self-denial, to rejection, to persecution, and sometimes even to death. Taking up our own cross, is what Jesus called it.
And so, why then Christ tells us that his yoke is easy, and that his burden is light? The answer is simple. It’s because HE IS WITH US, with the believer, to share that yoke and to share that burden. So that, even in the depths of our greatest pains, we are comforted, strengthened, and we experience his sweet love, unreasonable joy, and priceless peace. Truly, to the one who knows this first hand, the yoke of Christ is much more preferable to the yokes of the world and of the self.
I was incapacitated from my battles, bleeding from multiple heart wounds, and floundering in my regrets. But my Lord has taken me up: bound up my wounds, dried my tears, and gave me justice and hope.
I’m still limping, yes, and sometimes I still bleed, but I can stand up straight, and now I can fight again. And for sure, I am no longer the man I was before. I’ve become older, wiser, and definitely stronger.
The war goes on.
- Reference: Matthew 11:25-30 (MHCC)
- Image credit: QuotesCover.com