Most of the people in my church live with regret. A majority of our congregation have criminal backgrounds and they live with constant reminders of their wrong doings. Many people in our church have difficulty finding employment for one reason or another. First of all, with a criminal background, a lot of employers will not hire them. Second, many of our people have huge fines to pay off before they can obtain a drivers license. Without a drivers license it decreases their chance for finding employment. Without a job the fines don’t get paid. It’s a terrible cycle and can be depressing for a group of people trying to start new lives.
God’s grace and His miraculous power have transformed the lives of people in our church, delivering them from drugs and a life of crime. These people want to live new lives; however, they have big challenges with fines, criminal backgrounds, broken relationships, health problems, etc.
There are amazing testimonies in our church of people who didn’t give up. I think about Tim. Tim has been at our church for 6 years. Once a drug dealer and a thug, he has been transformed by God. Now a big pile of love and mush, Tim is married, employed, he has paid off huge fines; and he has his driver’s license. Four years ago I remember talking with him and thinking to myself, how is he ever going to make it? He had giant fines, he was unable to get his drivers license, he had no job, and he was discouraged, but, he didn’t give up. His determination kept him going and his hope in Christ kept him strong. Sure, he struggled and he lived with regret, but he conquered and he overcame his circumstances. He worships the Lord in a way that makes anyone with a heart want to cry. He is beautiful.
I have been thinking about regret in my life. I go back to financial regret. Oh why did we buy this property that now is worth nothing? I keep waiting for good news but unfortunately, it keeps getting worse. It can defeat me and it’s easy to let worry overcome my life. Those in debt may understand, or those who are walking through a job loss. Regret in a relationship can have pain, maybe a marriage gone south or a relationship in turmoil. Like so many in our church, the mountains look so big and it appears there is no relief in sight.
I love 2 Chronicles 20 when a vast army was coming to fight against Jehoshaphat and all of Judah gathered to seek help from the Lord. First they prayed for help and God responded, telling them to stand firm.
2 Chronicles 20:17
“Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”
There are days when I feel like life’s challenges are like a big, vast army trying to defeat me, but the good news is the battle belongs to the Lord. I just need to suit up and show up. If Tim can do it, so can I.
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Thank you for your great thoughts and comments. I just signed papers on selling 6 lots at a huge loss today. Its just paper right? No cancer, no death, just money.
One of the best things about Christianity is the concept of forgiveness and redemption. It’s easy to get bogged down by regret, but we can move forward if we treat our mistakes as an opportunity to learn, and make changes. Sometimes easier said than done. As Janet notes, though, if we look around at others’ struggles, ours often seems minor in comparison. Not to dismiss your financial worries, Patricia, but I’m reminded of the perspective I gained when my Dad died of lung cancer. From then on, we had a saying in our family if there were money woes: It’s only money, it’s not cancer.
That’s not to say financial worries aren’t significant. But you are certainly very rich in having a loving family. And I do have hope that the economy will improve.
Thanks for the reminder Patricia…..with all the good stuff that has happened recently, i should expect no less than a full on attack from the enemy.Its good to remember when we think our struggle is tough, how tough was Tims? And if we think Tims struggle was tough, then how tough was Jesus’???
I think I should put one foot in front of the other…suit up and show up!!
Praise God that churches like this still exist. You are blessed to be a part of one! Thanks for the reminder….suit up and watch for Him to show up! Nicely said : )