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Regret Redeemed

Read: Lamentations 1:7-11

Jerusalem remembers . . . all the precious things that were hers. (v. 7)

As I get older, I find myself troubled by regrets: failing to savor my daughters’ childhood years, hurting family members, missing the opportunity to reconcile with a now-deceased friend. No matter the nature, regret amounts to the same thing: pain over a past we cannot change.

Throughout the Bible, God demands that his people embrace regret. The first active step toward true faith is repentance, but the first step of repentance is regret—looking back, recognizing deviation from God’s will, and returning to God’s way. Lamentations captures Israel’s worst regret. They had been God’s beloved, with all the associated benefits and blessings. Now, because of folly and failure, they were bereft. But God would use this moment of regret to reorient his people to himself and an even better future with him.

When facing regret, two things are important. First, loss is an inescapable part of life in this world. Second, God’s redeeming love is more powerful than our losses, mistakes, or even sin. God’s claim on us through Jesus cannot be lost or broken. He promises a future so great that our worst suffering will pale in comparison. He redeems even our regret, using it to refocus our attention on him and whet our appetites for his better future. As God’s beloved in Christ, let go of the past, learn from your mistakes, and look forward to a perfect eternity with him.

As you pray, allow your past regrets to guide you toward God’s better future.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon has served various Christian Reformed congregations since 2003. He currently serves as pastor at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

This entry is part 2 of 15 in the series Lamentations: When God is Silent