Thanks For Nothing

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine shared a quote with me by Mark Twain. It went, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.” This seems to be more and more poignant for me each day. As I’ve been sending out college applications and starting to make decisions about my future, I keep coming back to one word: regret.

And as we start approaching the holidays and get closer to the end of year, statistics show that more people start to feel regret. They may regret that New Year’s resolution they didn’t keep, or that project they didn’t finish, or that ten pounds they didn’t lose. But even so, these types of “objective regrets” tend to blow over and be forgotten. It’s the “emotional regrets” that tend to hang on people.
~The nights they spent at work instead of with their family because they thought the deadline was important.
~The trips they didn’t take because they thought the preparation was too much work.
~The things they didn’t say to loved-ones because they thought the words would sound silly.

As I’ve prepared for college, all sorts of regrets have flowed through my mind. I think of nights I stayed up late preparing for tests instead of eating dinner with my family. I think of clubs I didn’t join because it seemed like too much time and effort. I think of events I didn’t go to because I was tired at the end of the week.

I think we feel regret in two situations: when our plans come together or when they don’t. When they do come together, often we feel like things should have been better. We feel like we worked so hard, it should have felt more rewarding. Or, the other hand, when things fall apart, we regret working so hard since it never paid off.

But both of the scenarios are flawed for one reason: they rely on our own plan and not God’s.

God is an excellent planner and he has already pulled off one of the most amazing plans in history. From the moment Eve tasted the forbidden fruit, God set a plan in motion. It was an elaborate plan to say the least and it all lead to one afternoon on a mountaintop where a man was crucified and a plan was complete. What God started in Eden, he finished at Calvary. It took thousands of years to accomplish, but he pulled it off.

Now to everyone else, the crucifixion didn’t look like a happy ending. Having the Son of God killed by Roman soldiers did not appear to be cause for celebration. But out of what appeared to be the worst possible scenario, God’s plan took an incredible twist. And three days later he brought the greatest success in history out of what looked to be the greatest failure. He rose from the grave and saved humanity.

The reality is, everything that happens, has happened, and will happen is part of God’s plan. We are where we are today because of where we’ve been. And as we start approaching the holidays and get closer to the end of year, I’ve decided I really have nothing to regret. I may have worked late some nights, but as a result I’ve had enormous success. I may not have joined every club at school but I have a wonderful church family. I may not have attended every event I was invited to, but I have an incredibly close group of friends.

In closing, I’d like to share with you the song “This.” I don’t know much about the artist or the background but in the lyrics the lead singer prays: “For every stoplight I didn’t make/ For every chance I didn’t take/ All the nights I went too far/ All the girls that broke my heart/ All the doors that I had to close/ All the things I knew but I didn’t know/ Thank God for all I missed/ Cause it led me here to this.”

We may not know where we are going, but if we trust in God, we will have no regrets; because God never fails.

Zach Herzog

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