Does God Hear When We are Going Through Struggles? Should we Hold onto Regret?
I am sitting here this morning after a tough night.
Covid brought all sorts of weird changes into all our lives. Some very tragic. Other changes are just simple life changes that ultimately mean the change of everything from that point forward. They are changes that seem small but may prove to be very big.
I was thinking back to sitting in the doctor’s office with my son last year. The doctor comes in and flips around the screen. “It’s perfect, ” he says like he is admiring his greatest work of art. “You see that?”
Mason and I look at the screen and then at each other. We were looking at an x-ray of his once-perfect elbow now complete with a bionic screw to hold it together. It looked far from perfect to us.
But the doctor was excited. To him, the surgery to repair the broken elbow was a complete success. We saw lost football games, an arm needing rehab, and a limb potentially forever changed. perspective, I guess.
My kiddos had gone to a charter school for elementary. Great little school. They were supposed to have a middle school, but right before it was supposed to start they decided they were not ready. Through a matter of timing and default my son walked into my old middle school, somewhere I swore he would never go. But he loved it. He did great. I don’t think it was academically the best, but he made great friends and just thrived. He has also always been a major football kid. He has played since he was 7/8 years old. My husband and dad coached him in YAFL. He really just seemed to have the world by the tail.
When covid hit, his little middle school went online like everyone else. It was a disaster.
During this time God was working in some serious ways in the rest of our family and we all were being pushed closer to Him.
Through a series of events and contemplations, we all made the decision to send my son to a private Christian school for 8th grade where they were going in person. He would get a better education and he could play for their small but mighty football team.
He started on varsity ya’ll with the high school! As an 8th grader! It was hard, but he was awesome.
And then he broke his elbow in a game. A teammates helmet. Surgery. A cast. Rehab.
But we started this season, now his freshman year with a healed arm and all ready to go. We got this!
And then last night, as a freshman, second game back in it, he broke it again.
So I’m sitting here this morning thinking through everything. All the choices over this last year. Covid. How this is nothing compared to others’ struggles. How one decision can change things in such big ways. Do these things all really matter?
Is This Supposed to be Easy? Why do Hard Things Happen and Should we Regret?
How to Move Forward When Things Get Tough
Hold onto God
So often we forget how important it is to hold onto God. You see, he is always with us, but we do the biggest mistake of all mankind- we say we can do it on our own. We can fix this. We know what is best for us. We can make it happen. But is it up to us? Doesn’t the bible say to lean not on your own understanding? Yes, yes it does. Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
One of the best story examples of trusting the Lord and holding onto Him while things are rough is in Genesis, the story of Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery. Things got better and then he ended up in prison. Things looked like they were looking up, and then they get way worse again. But all through this, Joseph’s faith remains and God is with him. He continues to trust in the Lord, hold on to Him. To trust that He will be with him through the good and the bad. He never promised things would be easy. But he wants us to lean on and hold on to Him throughout all times in our lives.
2. Some Lessons Can Only Be Learned in the Midst of the Storm
God has a plan and a purpose when it’s hard. He redeems.
The hard days are the days we are reminded that God is faithful. He doesn’t leave us. He is there to hold our hand. And as ashamed as I am to say, it is true that I do not turn to Him as I should in the good. It’s when it’s really bad that I find myself on my knees asking for help. But he is always there. I know that even in the hardest times God is with us. Even in the best of times, God is with us. And when I am going through the storm He is there to hold our hand. And maybe that is what this life is all about. God telling and showing us His love despite all the crazy. He will be there. He is always there. Sometimes it just takes a storm for us to realize how much we need Him and His steadfast love.
3. Regret will Rob you of Joy
Regret will take all that is good. Having regret means we are not trusting that we are where we are supposed to be. It is also placing too much importance on the things of this world. When we accept Jesus into our lives we have put to death our sinful spirits and have been born again free from all sin and wrongdoing. We are made perfect not by ourselves, but by what He did for us. His death made you perfect. Our spirit is anew, but our flesh is still of this world and we will make mistakes, but you have been set free from sin. You have been saved by the blood and the steadfast love of Jesus our Lord. Grace, my friends. So what does regret do? Are we putting a little too much emphasis on the things of this world? I think so. The joy that is Jesus in our soul is meant to win out. We are meant to be joyous and delight in the Lord despite the entire world falling down around us. It is of this world and our soul is not.
4. Purpose. Ours and His
To know Jesus, our Lord, and to make Him known. God of this world and all creation – “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” – Revelation 1:8.
And somehow we think we still know best.
How presumptuous of us. I mean, really. I think sometimes we can get a little chip on our shoulders about this. Like we don’t need any help, we are the ones to control our lives. We don’t need help! And we assume the reason why everything is happening around us to us is for our glory.
If you have been living a ‘works-based’ existence, this makes sense. You are in control when your salvation is dependant on your works. It makes it a lot harder to trust in God when we think of Him as ever-changing, ready to judge us by our works, with the potential to be replaced. When we think of Him as human, the ability to trust gets tricky.
But Friends, He is not man. There is no other god besides Him. He is the Alpha and the Omega and the sovereign Lord of all creation and we are saved by grace, not works. By His love and by nothing we have done.
“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose,” Phillippians 2:13
But it is not about what is happening to us. It is about how God is working in us! Let His will be done. Let Him work His will in us and in our lives. Through the good and the bad, let His purpose, His glory reign.
How do we move forward when we are going through the struggles and holding onto regret?
Lay it down at the foot of the cross.
Hold onto God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Lean on Him and know that He will hold your hand through the storm. Make no room for regret. Instead, trust. And finally, know that our purpose is to know our Lord Jesus and make Him known. Let His will be done and trust in the Lord.