Regrets and Redemption
REGRETS AND REDEMPTION Recently, a medication side-effect drove me into a pit that was new territory for me. Sure, I’ve been down before, but this-- being pressed down into an alternate reality that defied reason, blotted out joy, deferred hope-- this…. Thankfully, discontinuing the cholesterol medication, along with the love and prayers of many friends quickly lifted me up and out. Phew! Dodged that bullet! But as I reflect, I believe God allowed that experience. I appreciate afresh the amazing love and redemption Christ offers us through His death on the cross and resurrection to new life.
The arrival point of this downward spiral was overwhelming regret and fear. Recently God brought to my attention some blind spots. Now that I’m aware, I see my failures over and over, past and present. Regrets over relationships marred by my flawed communication style led to fear of rejection and ultimately, abandonment. While we’re often quick to dismiss these dark journeys as “attacks of the enemy,” I know that in fact, Paul’s description of the human predicament in Romans 7:19 fits me all too well: For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”
As good Friday approached, I was reminded what my sin cost Jesus. My darkness and that of the whole world, the rejection and separation from those beloved that I so feared, he bore on the cross. For me. For all of us. The enormity of His gift is staggering. The innocent pays the price for the guilty. May I never forget. May His kindness lead me to a true and lasting repentance (which literally means turning around, changing your mind.)
Yet if I linger too long in that place of darkness I reject His gift and all He suffered to give it. His sacrifice was effective to purchase my salvation. My forgiveness. His resurrection, witnessed by over 500 to whom He appeared and those apostles who all but one gave their lives to tell His story, promises me new life, both now and in eternity. This is the amazing grace (how sweet the sound) that Jesus offers me.
So how can I embrace the joy and peace promised those who receive God’s great gift of salvation without disregarding its tremendous cost? Through the power of the Holy Spirit. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Rom 15:13). Joy embraces truth now matter how painful from God’s perspective. May the knowledge of his death and resurrection fill me with gratitude and hope. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians captures the role of the Holy Spirit “...that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:15-17) As I am filled with this overwhelming sense of His love, I ask humbly for His Spirit to fill me up, crowding out all that is selfish, rude or inconsiderate. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 Another day, new mercy. New hope, new joy. Redemption.