Living Beyond Regret - July 2019 Mission Moment Letter with Pastor Bob Marchant Executive Director of River of Life Mission

Dear Friends:

Have you ever done something you knew was wrong and you did it anyway?  Have you ever said things and then wished you had not spoken?  Have you ever thought that if certain things had not happened to you, your life would have been much better?  Have you ever thought that you have failed in raising your children?  If you have answered yes to any of these questions, it’s very possible that you are experiencing REGRET.

As I thought about this, I realized that I answered yes to all of these questions. At some point in my life I fell short in all of them.  Regret is a burden that we must remove from our lives.  Twenty six years ago, I disobeyed the Lord.  I had been running well, yet at some point I sinned.  The worst thing was that I knew better.  The problem was that in the area where I had such great joy, there was now a burdensome oppression.  In those months following, I experienced great REGRET.  It took about a year for me to realize that the REGRET I was experiencing was also stealing my vision for my future.  Francis Frangipane said that “regret is the gift that keeps on giving.”

He also said that “regret can play a role or have a place in our contrition.  Yes, we should have remorse and godly sorrow for the things we have done wrong, but there is a difference between godly sorrow and demonic oppression.”   1 Peter 5:7 tells us to “cast our cares upon the Lord, for He cares for us.”  Jesus is not just the Savior of our souls; He is also the one who sets the captives free.    One of my favorite scriptures is Isa 61:1-3.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim  freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,  2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness

instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”

The Lord is offering us beauty for ashes.  The ashes of broken dreams, failures, disappointments and regrets.  He is offering us the beauty that only He can give.  He has promised to give us the oil of joy for mourning.  His gladness for the sorrows of our lives and our past that would try to rob us of our future.  He has also promised a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.  The heaviness of hurts, treacheries and failures.  I call it God’s swap shop.

The Lord had truly redeemed my past.  My successes as well as my failures.  I am thankful for His redemption.  I am thankful for His forgiveness.  I am thankful for the beauty He has imparted into my life in exchange for the ashes of my broken dreams and failures.  I am thankful for His joy for my sorrows of things I wish I had done differently.  I am thankful for His garment of praise for my heaviness.  All of the people that we deal with are loaded down with regret. Every one of them labors under guilt for the things they have done and for the way things have turned out.  We spend a lot of time showing them that past failures are not valid predictors of the future. There’s been so much growth in so many of them. They feel like we understand them because we have our own failures and shortcomings.  However, the difficult thing is getting them to see that God has forgiven them and that he has plans for their future.

I am thankful for the lessons learned in the furnace of life and that He has given me the opportunity to share with others what I have learned.  Our failures are not the determining factor in our future endeavors.  He not only redeems our past, He also transforms our present and redirects our future. I am sure that you have your own set of regrets. If you haven’t done so already, I would encourage you to take your regrets to God’s swap shop and move forward with your life. God bless you and your family.  Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Bob Marchant

Ps: Many of you have asked about sharing the gospel if we move.  It has been made clear, if we move we will continue operating the same as we do in Chinatown.