“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).
Jesus has a plan in place for all the great failures of your life that you committed, once you repent of them. This is important for you to know, lest you think your locust-eaten days were a complete waste. God wastes nothing. When He says, “for those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28), he means all things. Not some things. Not most things. All things.
In my human reasoning and fleshly desires, there are decades of my past I would give anything to undo. I want to start over and be the Christian Mother of the Year whose outstanding godliness brought her children to faith. I want to return to 1981 and put away the vacuum cleaner and create lasting memories on sunlit fields or in campgrounds in the Adirondacks. That will never be my biography. (Oh, the solemn consequentiality of human choice!)
But if I can come to peace with the reality that I will not be the hero of my children’s salvation story, I can place my faith in the promise of God to use “all things” that have happened to them in their salvation. God will work my worst failures for a salvation that will be more glorious than it would have been if they had not suffered. All their losses, all their deprivations, all their hurts, God will weave together to make them compassionate disciplers of others who have losses, deprivations, and hurt.
Peter was hours away from denying Jesus three times, when Jesus was his neediest for friendship and comfort. But God answered his Son’s prayer for the apostle. After being devastated by his sin, he “turned again.” And there is no indication in his writings that he wallowed for years in unproductive regret over this awful lapse. Indeed, he was a better man healed than he would have been well. His letters show a different man from the one we knew in the gospels, living for the will of God (1 Peter 4:1-2).
You and I can do the same. It is important that as often as regret rears its head, we speak forcefully to our own souls, speaking out loud His promises over our self-condemnation.