Regrets – As We Enter a New Year

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“Regrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention.” Anybody remember that song? Gimme a great big break. TOO FEW REGRETS? Not me! I’ve got lots!  How about you?

Just thinking back across 2012 – missed opportunities, stuff that had no business coming out of my mouth, people I let down, thoughts harbored that should have been rejected, failed projects. There have been enough of these for me. You?  Enter the theme for this coming Sunday – wavering. In other words, not having our ducks lined up quite straight enough in one area of our life or another. 

So I started to do a survey of various bible characters – “first team all-stars” kind of characters. And amazing to see how many of them are described, very candidly, as people who struggled and wavered in their faith and life. Like Noah – huge figure of faith… and then gets rip roarin’ drunk at the “apres flood” party. Or David – “Man after God’s own heart” says the bible… but he can’t raise his family, and moonlights in murder & adultery. Or “Saint Peter” – denies his friendship with Jesus when stared down by a teenager. I could go on, but you get the point. Seems like we, who waver in our lives, are in good company. 

Not that wavering is a desirable thing. God’s Word is pretty clear that being steadfast in faith is the goal. Hanging tough in the race of faith is the challenge put to us as we head into 2013 (check out Hebrews 12:1-3). But, even as we aim for that goal, pray for it, and work towards it….. well, to paraphrase the bumper sticker, “Wavering happens.”

And so, how do we respond to it?

1. Be aware THAT it happens. Don’t try to deny it – because then, when it comes, it’ll land with a destructive impact far greater than if we are ready for it, and working to counter it.

2. When we find ourselves wavering, let’s not cave. No cutting and running. No quitting. WHY? Because GOD DOESN’T QUIT ON US. I’d encourage you to do a bible word search on “faithful love”, “steadfast love”, or “faithfulness” as they relate to God. You’ll discover that Lamentations 3:22-23 is by no means an orphan child among bible verses. Want a picture? Look no further than the Waiting Father parable in Luke 15:11ff. Both boys waver. The father faithfully stands by them both.

3. Look to the Divine Community of faithful love and grace – the holy Triune God.

i. The Father of providential care and faithful strength

ii. The Son whose birth we celebrate, granting us forgiveness no matter HOW BIG the wavering is, and who sits at the Father’s side interceding for us (check out the closing verses of Romans 8)

iii. The Spirit who faithfully walks with us, counselling and comforting us (John 14:16)

4. Let’s work to grow as an earthly Community of faithful love and grace – the Body of Christ.

- providing safe haven in a difficult world
- wavering pilgrims leaning together, cords tied together finding greater strength than each could provide alone (Ecclesiastes 4:12) This one, of course, is a huge challenge. Because a wavering life is, by definition, a messy one. Sometimes things are straight and clear and clean.

But often we find ourselves skating, so to speak, near the thin ice. Maybe even falling through. Which means picking each other up – a lot. And hugging each other when we’ve got dirt on our face. Risking getting ourselves dirty by hanging out with others who’ve gotten dirty. Realizing that a simple set of black and white rules doesn’t quite cut it – would be a lot easier.  

But doesn’t work so well in a community filled with wavering types. But then, hey, with what kind of people did Jesus hang out? What sort of risks was he willing to take? Does that say anything for the community that follows him today? Can we forgive ourselves and give ourselves a second chance? Can we forgive others, and give others a second chance? Or third? Or 77th chance?

Perhaps you’ve got some thoughts to add to the conversation as we look forward to a new year together as that Community Of The Wavering Ones.

Love to hear from you.

Posted in: Pastors; Blog Photo courtesy of Chris Campbell http://www.flickr.com/photos/cgc/3042773656/ Image: See Credit

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Your reflections remind me of the Sankofa. Looking back informs me of where I am today and where (God helping me) I'll be tomorrow.

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