What do you regret?
Perhaps it’s some behavior from when you were young.
Maybe it’s a relationship that has gone sour.
It could be something you did yesterday when you lost your cool.
No matter what, our regrets usually have to do with something that we wish that we could do over or change. It often has to do with something that we would like to have a do-over on. We made a mistake. We wish we had done something different.
What about God?
Did you know that God had regrets?
I’ve seen it before, but I noticed it again today as I was reading. Saul was the king God chose for Israel. Saul disobeyed God. What was God’s reaction? In 1 Samuel 15:35, it says that “the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but I like to think that God is perfect. That He doesn’t make bad decisions like I do. That He doesn’t need a do-over. How can He regret something when He doesn’t make bad decisions?
I think this is because we look at God’s regret as we look at ours. We transfer how we look at regret and assume that God does the same.
How about if we looked at it this way?
If we look at this incident as this being God’s plan, could God’s regret in this matter be that He regrets that this is how it had to be? Might He regret that His plan had to include Saul as king. Might He regret with compassion when He looked at the effect His plan had on people?
We might approach this kind of regret. We might regret having to discipline our children, while knowing that we have to. Could God’s regret be that type of regret?
Or it could be like my daughter and her relationship with her boyfriend. Yesterday was their 16 month anniversary. Or as I like to call it, one day closer to them breaking up. I only say that jokingly, but chances are they will break up at some point. I will regret it when it does. Not that it happened, but the pain that she had to go through the pain of the breakup.
So, instead of transferring our normal idea of regret onto God, what if we looked at what we regret the way God would? What if we looked at everything that happens as part of what makes us who we are? What if we looked at everything, even our mistakes, as part of what God uses to make us who He wants us to be?
God gave Israel what it wanted. They wanted a king like all of the other nations. Israel suffered under Saul’s reign. God showed them what it was like to have a king like everyone else. Then He gave them a king who led to the King of Kings. Even what God regretted led to His perfect plan. What a God we have.
What regret do you have that has made you into who God wants you to be?