Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Shadows of Regret

It is both a wonderful and terrible thing to grow old. With years comes experience, and a calm familiarity with the wild twists life tries to throw. I can look at illness or misfortune or financial change with a straight face because, after long acquaintance, I recognize them. "Oh, yes, it's only you..I've seen you before."

But the accumulation of years holds also the terror of regret. Here, I have lingered incapacitated, useless. Old sins and errors have left sad wakes of damage and hurt that no action on my part can change. They lurk and mock. They niggle away at hope. Unlike private sin, these sins have altered not only my life, but the lives of the people I love--my husband, my children, my sweet grandchildren. Every time I look at them, they stand in the relentless shadow of my regret. "You struggle today because of what I did...and I can't undo it."

But You, my God, my Savior, have something to say about this, too.

Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you.--1Peter 5:7

This is the realm of the impossible, where I fail and You shine. I have already crucified my life to You, but I have wrongly retained responsibility for the lives of those I love. These are the groans for which there are no words, the utterings that You, Holy Spirit, whisper directly into the Father's ear. I have to give myself to You as You gave Yourself to me, and cast my cares on You for the rest, for all the rest.

My sin helped to shipwreck my family, but just as my life was not beyond Your reach, neither is theirs. You will not punish them for my sin. You can call them, just as You called me. I cannot do any of this, but You can. My reliance on You in this is my next leap of faith, and the faith I need to do this must come from You.

I can do nothing to change the past. I can rely on you to change their futures, however. My regrets have been gods to which I have knelt too long. They have brought neither power nor joy. I have hoarded them. Now, I lay them at your feet and, with them, pray for your will to be done in us all.

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