Look to the Future and Leave Regret Behind
Jen’s Gem: Look to the Future and Leave Regret Behind
Today is Palm Sunday. The day Jesus rode through Jerusalem on a donkey to his eventual crucifixion. Hoards of people cheered for Him and proclaimed Him as the Son of God, only to completely betray Him days later. His friends abandoned Him despite spending years by His side. One even denied he ever knew Him.
We sometimes think that God has no clue about who we are and what we are going through. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Jesus experienced everything we do. Friendship. Love. Betrayal. Joy. Disappointment. Frustration. He was even racked with feelings of overwhelm as He sat in the garden asking His Father to remove His suffering and death sentence.
However, as we know, He followed His Father’s will, “did what He was told to do,” and because of it we have the opportunity to reap the benefits if we choose.
I have fond memories of the Palm Sundays of my childhood. We would come home with hands full of long palms that my father would fashion into crosses. I watched as he meticulously peeled away the unusable parts of the palm and wove the good pieces in and out to form baskets.
It was fascinating to watch as my Dad’s fingers were large but yet he delicately pieced together these crosses for each of his kids and eventually, his grandkids.
On one occasion, I asked him to teach me how to do make them and I spent a long-ago Sunday afternoon trying to replicate his actions. It was a paltry attempt but nevertheless, I didn’t want this tradition to end once his life ended. Sadly, having only done this once, I’m not able to recreate them and the art is gone.
However, as you can see from the picture, I have a collection of crosses and baskets that my Dad made me throughout my life. They have traveled with me from my childhood home to my adult home and weathered many moves. Their resting place is in a shadow box along with the crucifix I and each of my siblings received. While I don’t have every cross my Dad made for me, I have plenty to serve as a reminder.
This morning, memories of my Dad are flooding my head. His passing still pains me and I miss him terribly. I miss our Sunday morning crossword puzzle time. I miss our card games. I miss our conversations about my kids, my life events, or even just reminiscing about my Mom, now gone nearly 10 years. What I wouldn’t give to go home today and see both of them at the kitchen table!
Had I known what life would be like without them, I probably would’ve done a few things differently. Perhaps I wouldn’t have rushed off the phone during conversations held at inconvenient times. Maybe I would’ve talked to both of them more about their childhoods, their dreams, and their family histories so that I could know more about my ancestors.
I can’t help but wonder as Jesus’ friends and family witnessed his horrific death, if they too had some regrets. We know that as soon as Peter denied Jesus three times, that he regretted it. We know that those who didn’t believe He was the Son of God regretted it as the world went dark and the heavens and earth shook when He took His last breath.
Jesus’s crucifixion was indeed something that no human today could bear. If we get stuck in that event, it has the power to overwhelm us with grief. But God doesn’t want us to get stuck on the cross, stuck in the past, or stuck in regret. Rather He wants us to focus on the event that took place three days later – Jesus’ victory over death. Because of this, we have opportunities afforded to us that can boggle the mind. The chance to have a relationship with the Creator of the Universe.
I know that my Mom and Dad would not want me crippled by regrets. They would want to see me happy, working toward my goals, and helping my kids to do the same. God is no different. As our Father in heaven, He has the same intention for us. His focus is on the future – His plan for each of us. He wants us to live that out each day.
I would like to encourage you to change your focus this week. Instead of looking to the past, fix your eyes on the future. Instead of dwelling in regrets, bask in the endless possibilities that are afforded to you because of the actions of a man who rode into town on a donkey over 2000 years ago.