Isaiah 48:17-19 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. 18 Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea; 19 your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains; their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before me.
I was introduced to God as a young child, but my faith was not encouraged or embraced and in that I missed God’s calling early in life.
Instead I chose to medicate the pain and confusion of abuse through partying and chasing what the worlds definition of success is. A life of holding on to resentments and being filled with the feelings of entitlement led to drugs, alcohol and promiscuity far outside of God’s commandments; and pursuit of career, recognition and the idolatry of materialism.
In many ways I became successful; money, cars, friends, career, esteem, respect, vacations, good times for all. But it became a rabbit hole, and in the middle of all that was emptiness, confusion, no direction, no self-worth.
Sure I had stuff, but without Christ, stuff is just stuff.
I don’t share that with a sense of remorse, but more-so as I read the word of God through Isaiah I’m drawn to a bout of pondering what could have been.
With Christ there is such a desire to be more than we are, to strive for greater outreach in sharing the Good News, to set healthy boundaries, remove the log from our own eye, be the light on the hill. What if those desires sparked in me 40 years ago?
Late Start to the Journey
I lived my whole life as a selfish bastard (without realizing it) and I feel like I’m getting such a late start in sanctification. There is so much extra work to be done in transforming my mind because I’ve spent so many decades living for myself, for my joy, all the time in full view of the gates of hell through my many addictions.
The journey home seems so far off.
The great news is though, for the ones who turns their lives over to Christ, we are already home! And God The Redeemer has great plans. He can and does take the “could have been’s” and turn them in to the “what is” and “what will be’s”.
Without my journey unfolding exactly as it has, I would not have my beautiful son Tanner. I don’t believe I would have come to know or desire God’s beautiful Son Jesus the way I do. And I would not have a testimony that offers hope to the most broken. I would not have a heartfelt desire to remain close to Celebrate Recovery and my church to help those who are struggling to learn how their own faith can set them free from the bondage of sin and heartache.
God knows when He sets us off in a direction how our stubbornness and blindness to His works in our lives will lead us astray through all the distractions of the world and flesh. But for those who continue to pick up their cross each day and seek God, He will lovingly provide course corrections that always lead to His glory and our best future.
I did a 6 month informal study on unconditional love. Using concordances and online resources I dug deep into what God’s unconditional love for us, the sinner, looks like. It is a love that goes beyond ration or reason. That He could love the most wretched of sinner and continue to hold his hand out and offer salvation through His Son Jesus goes against so much of our world today.
We love to play judge and jury, but that is not our role. We are to love, unconditionally love. That does not mean we let people walk on us, but we are always willing to offer a helping hand to those who haven’t earned it, offer love and grace to those who don’t deserve it, offer encouragement and hope to those who don’t want to hear it. We are to consider ourselves less and others more.
Jesus went into the worse parts of town, spoke and healed the worst kind of people. It is us, the wretched, the sick, the broken, the hurting, the alone, the afraid, the hopeless, the sinner that Christ came for.
There are really no such things as lost opportunities. God does seem to lament in this verse about “what could have been”, but oh the joy that still awaited Israel, and which still does and what awaits us all.
The Book of Life
His promises are real, and you can count on them at the soul level. He is the Creator of the universe, the creator of us and all those around us. His purposes and plans are to glorify His name, and for those that are considered son’s of God through faith, our name is written in the book of life, and his plans for our future are beyond comprehension.
We should not look back to what could have been with disdain or regret, but with great joy in knowing that it is all of our yesterdays, combined with the great blessings of God today that are building toward the amazing opportunities of tomorrow.
Today is a day to rejoice, for He is risen, and we have the free will this very day to choose life or death; to be a light or live in darkness.
Since I came to Christ I love sharing that what used to be tears of sorrow are now tears of joy. My life may not look different on the outside, the same ex-wife, the same job, the same car, the same bills… but the inside is being transformed by the graces and mercy of Christ.
When we focus on the solution, the problem disappears!
My prayers that we all continue to recognize the amazing mercies God shines upon all those who call Him Lord, even in our suffering there can be great hope, for what on this earth can hurt us.
If we don’t want to be faced with the thought of “what could have been”, then lets be bold in our faith and walk with God this day and live for the “what will be”.
Prayers and blessing to all