"You mean," said Lucy rather faintly, "that it would have turned out all right - somehow? But How? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?"
"To know what would have happened child? said Aslan. "No. Nobody is ever told that."
- excerpt from Prince Caspian, by C.S. Lewis
I think it may be my personality (or maybe everyone does) but I struggle with taking great effort to make the best possible decision. (perfectionist??) Sometimes, I become a little bit of a fence sitter, and need the sounding board of my husband, family & friends to help sway me one way or the other. If my decision becomes in hindsight, not the best, I struggle to maintain the feeling that I've done my best. I feel instead, regret! I should have known better!
I think this topic, regret, sometimes can be connected to finding 'God's will' for your life (you can read my thoughts about that here). We don't get to know how it would have turned out if we had made a different decision, or a better one as the example in Prince Caspian is referring to. But that's ok! We are blessed with forgiveness & grace! God hasn't lost us. He finds us no matter how many times we choose the harder road.
Some choices in our lives plague us with guilt, regret & even shame. None of these things is from the Lord. But our God leads us to repentance, and graciously forgives.
"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret,
but worldly sorrow brings death."
2 Corinthians 7:10
While my boys are young, I try to teach them about forgiveness (a topic coming). Practicing forgiveness to/from each other & to/from momma will hopefully instill in them the 'how to'. Somethings I know are learned & then understood with age & time. I think the lesson on sorrow & repentance will be one to practice & teach as my boys are older. I know that for myself, being able to move past shame & regret wasn't something I tackled at home when I was young, but after I had already moved on to college & career. And herein lies the value of 'training them up in the way they should go' comes. That they might not depart from it.
We all make mistakes. We are all sinners & none is blameless before the Lord. We all fall short. But we don't have to wallow. We can walk through the mourning & then cling to the joy of the Lord as our strength. We have been forgiven!! We can rejoice.
In a small way, I love how my topics enter-twine. I link back to my post on JOY, my thoughts about God's will, and even my post on courage. When something happens that makes me feel regret (like my 4 year old getting a cavity which feels like I could have prevented it, whether or not that is true), I cannot forget those words from C.S. Lewis. We cannot know what would have happened. The Lord does not give up on us, as Aslan did not. The way may not be the same as it would have been; our choices may make it harder sometimes. But that does not rob us of JOY. It does not rob us of forgiveness or grace.
"For his anger lasts only for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."
Lord, thank you for godly sorrow that draws us to repentance, that draws us to you. Thank you for your salvation & your continued forgiveness. Thank you that we can be free from regret, from shame, and from sorrow. Thank you for your JOY & that we can rejoice in the morning. Thank you for never leaving us behind when we make mistakes. Please help me teach this lesson to my sons as they grow. Amen.