God’s prescription for regret about the past and fear of the future

In Proverbs Chapter 4, verse 25 it says:  Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. [NIV Bible]

The past may hold painful memories and loss. We may feel guilt and regret about the past. Or maybe we recognize missed opportunities and foolish missteps. We can often only see truths about the past years later.

I hurt people when I was younger in ways I was blind to for a long time. I’ve felt shame and guilt about my past behavior. Seeing the pain I caused in hindsight pierces me. It is a process, but I do know this–these are things I have to bring to God. I can’t go back in time and change what I did or didn’t do. But my mistakes help to open my eyes to what I’m doing now. I don’t want to learn the hard way. I want to help people and not hurt them. I want to be sensitive and aware in the here and now. I don’t want to regret today tomorrow.

God doesn’t demand perfection from us, and He understands how hard it can be for us to see how what we do or don’t do affects other people. This life is full of details that can be difficult to see clearly. Making mistakes doesn’t mean we don’t have good intentions, and God knows what’s in our hearts.

God gives us wisdom that comes from Him, not us. We don’t have to be able to anticipate everything or know it all because He does and He can help guide our actions and help us make decisions.

When we study the Bible, pray and listen for God’s voice, we connect ourselves to God and the direction that only He can give us. God can help us understand what to do (or not do).

Fear of the future is so embedded in our lives that it’s practically a default position. There is always plenty to worry about, and a lot of it never comes to pass. I’ve worried many times about scenarios that never played out. Fear about what might happen has held me hostage many times.

Every time I have been relieved of my worries (before I knew what was going to happen), it has been by God’s own hand. The Holy Spirit has counselled me to trust God and have faith that He will help me. He wants us to pray believing that He will help us. He wants us to trust Him to make a way for us.

So when we “let our eyes look straight ahead,” we acknowledge that God can be trusted with the unknowns of the future. And when we “fix our gaze directly before us,” we aren’t shackled to the past, reliving our mistakes.

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