Just about the time that I hit the driveway, heading down toward the street, I heard the screen door slam on the front of the small bungalow where we were living, in the back of Aunt Edna’s house on Lowen St. I was heading for school, late as usual, with a long walk ahead of me (before free busing). So I had shot out the door ahead of Dad, with a quick good-bye over my shoulder.
“Hey Son, wait up.” It was Dad, my favorite person in the whole world, coming down the driveway behind me, heading for work. We were in between pastoring, and evangelizing, so dad picked up a job selling vacuum cleaners door to door, and that’s why we were living in the remodeled garage in back of my cousin’s house.
I didn’t get to see dad much these days because most of his work was late at night and by the time that he got home, I was already asleep. So any extra time that I could spend with him was always exciting for me. “Son, do you want a ride?” Dad ask, as he put his arm around my shoulder, “I’ll take you to the corner.”
The corner, I thought to myself, as I look at it a half block away. Why would I want to get in the car and ride just a half block? That didn’t make sense to me. So, without any questions, I told him, “No, that’s alright Dad, I’ll just walk.”
“Are you sure?” Dad replied.
“Yeah, I’ll be alright,” I answered, slightly disappointed that I couldn’t spend some time with him, even if I was on the way to school. We hugged, and Dad climbed into the “50” Plymouth and took off down toward the corner, and I stood watching as the car slowed down to turn.
Suddenly to my shock, the little Plymouth turned to the right instead of turning left. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Dad was heading toward my school and I could have been in the front seat beside him.
“Dad, wait for me,” I hollered as I took a few quick steps toward the corner–then stopping in the middle of the street, realizing it was too late. Of course, I muttered to myself, as I trudged off toward school. He meant the major intersection near the school and I thought he was talking about the corner by our house. What a dummy I am.
It’s hard to believe that the picture of that little ’50 Plymouth turning the corner would still be burned in my mind 45 years later, but it is. And the bitter taste of regret that I experienced that morning was to come back again and again as I grew and learned how to face life.
Only God knows how often that sickening feeling of regret has come back, when I realized I had made a mistake or miscalculation of some sort. The “you dummy” syndrome can be one of the worst enemies in our life when we collect enough of them.
So what’s the answer to this reoccurring thing called regret, that brings such a heavy weight to our spirit and personality? Of course we know the answer is in God, but what is the key that opens the door for me to be free?
There is an incredible verse of Scripture in II Cor. 7:2 when Paul makes this statement that just blows me out of the water. Listen to it:
“Open your hearts to us we have wronged no one.”
When the depth of this verse first burst through my spirit, I began to get a picture of just how big God’s grace and healing really was. Here is a man who declares that he has no regrets and he has the boldness to state it publicly. Yet this is the man who went through the church like a cyclone bringing many to prison or even death. Now he’s writing to the children and grand children to those that he murdered, and has the nerve to say, “he has done them no wrong.”
I knew when I read this Scripture that God had a key to the sin and agony of regret.
Then I discovered the on going miracle of “casting down” and “casting upon”. These have become the “twin keys of release” that have been used to keep me free of the weight of regret through my Christian walk.
First of all, the Psalmist tells me in 55:22 that I am to “cast all my cares UPON THE LORD and when I do, “HE WILL NEVER SUFFER THE RIGHTEOUS TO BE MOVED.”
Think of it! If I will take that regret, that sorrow, depression and guilt of failure, that slows me down and causes me to retreat into the shadows of fear and doubt and cast it UPON THE LORD, I can be free of it. What a miracle!
Secondly, Paul tells me I am to CAST DOWN arguments (do you argue with yourself about your worthiness?) and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (II Cor. 10:5)
You cannot imagine the miracles of change that have come to me through these marvelous keys of release. Times that the enemy was magnifying my failures beyond what I could bear, I have discovered the ability to cast them on the Lord and cast them down to be obedient to God’s Word.
Could we ask for a greater tool of freedom? I think not.
So when I wrote that huge check for a down payment on a house that I knew a few hours later was a big mistake, I could sleep through the night with my care on Him–knowing that somehow He would work it out. I beat the check to the bank the next day by 5 minutes, in time to stop it.
How about the night my brief case was stolen out of my truck when I made a brief stop for food at the supermarket on the way home from Sunday night service? My latest sermon notes and things that I could never replace, plus my two favorite well marked Bibles were in that briefcase. I was sick, if only I had of been more careful!
With the help of the Lord and the encouragement of my good wife, I actually managed to get out a few praises and committed it to the Lord, calling it back from wherever it had gone. Believe it or not, a peace settled over my spirit, and I began to go about the business of my evening.
Two hours later when Corbin went out to his car, there sat my briefcase, on top of the hood, with not a thing missing: only God can do these things.
So, dear one, start casting and as the Lord has promised, the miracle of your return will come to you again and again, with blessings.
No Left Turns
Regrets Anonymous, Pres.