Regrets and worry or lessons and gratitude?

Christian Science Practitioner

In the eternal now of God’s loving care, are hindsight and foresight useful or is there a more productive way to look at the present? It is fun think back on the good times of our lives and it’s also uplifting to be grateful for healings we’ve had, but it’s certainly not helpful ruminate over the struggles, or to regret things we could have or should have done or said, or things we wish we hadn’t done or said. It’s delightful to anticipate upcoming joys, and planning or foresight can be very helpful, but fear or worry about the future is not constructive. So how do we find the right balance, right now?

Christ Jesus said (John 4:23) “the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” And Paul wrote, (II Cor 6:2) “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” These two ideas encourage us to find God, with joy, healing, and peace right now. At every moment, each of us is at the point of opportunity to do and be good, and see God’s kingdom all around us.

Regrets to lessons

Mary Baker Eddy wrote, (Ret 22:1) “The human history needs to be revised, and the material record expunged.” I have found one useful way to implement this idea is to be turn regrets into lessons and then to expunge the regrets but hold onto the lessons. In this way, I can look with hindsight and find gratitude without any sense of ruminating on past problems.

It used to be that when I was doing tasks which didn’t require much thought, like weeding the garden or washing dishes, that I would get all mentally wound up by replaying events that took place years ago – re-condemning myself or others, but it just wasn’t fruitful or healing and it made me dread having to do those tasks. But when I began uplifting my thought during those times, by creating a mental gratitude list and to rejoicing in progress, I found that I finished those tasks with a sense of peace and accomplishment that made them much more fun to do. I began to look forward to  those tasks because of the quiet time they gave me to mentally talk to God and listen for His angels, or divine messages, to me.

Worry to spiritual foresight

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures  Mary Baker Eddy wrote,  (84:14) “Acquaintance with the Science of being enables us to commune more largely with the divine Mind, to foresee and foretell events which concern the universal welfare, to be divinely inspired, — yea, to reach the range of fetterless Mind.” I understand the Science of being to be that laws of God that Jesus demonstrated when he protected the multitudes from starvation by feeding them in the desert and when he healed the sick and raised the dead. This is the Science that Eddy discovered and documented in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

One time I was driving home in the middle of a severe thunder storm,  listening for God’s guidance and being grateful for His loving care. When I stopped at a particular intersection, I felt irresistibly compelled to go directly through it instead of taking the turn that I normally would have taken there. My delay going through the intersection caused by changing my usual routine, also kept the car behind me who had their turn signal on from being able to turn at the time they normally would have. This divine guidance was good for both of us, because as I was going through the intersection and before the car behind me was able to turn, a very large tree was struck by lightning and a huge portion of it fell across the road. It’s not that I knew that the particular tree would fall, but that I foresaw that that road was not the way to take at that moment and I trusted divine Love’s care and moved forward in anticipation of harmony in whatever direction God sent me. This foresight brought safety to me and the driver behind me.

Spiritually inspired foresight helps us to look beyond the material situation and see the spiritual reality. In my case that was the ability to see a safe path forward. Sometimes, however, when we’re in the midst of a challenge, a sickness, injury, or troubled relationship, it seems hard to trust that God is in control and have the spiritually inspired foresight to see goodness on the horizon, but the rewards of this foresight are immense.

Trusting God’s care

I often think of Joseph from the Old Testament  (Gen chapters 37 – 45). It seems to me that it could have been a challenge for him to have foreseen that God was gently leading him when he was in the pit his brothers threw him in, or in the slavery they sold him into, or in the prison where he was thrown for a crime he didn’t commit, but still when all was said and done he was able to say to his brothers: (Gen 45:5, 8) “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life…So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God:” He saw that God was always in control. He learned from each challenge, turned each one into a lesson, and was grateful that he was put into a position to be able to preserve life. He set an excellent example of following the guidance in Isa (46:9,10) which says, “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done,…” . Joseph saw that God’s plan for him had been laid out from the beginning and it was a plan of unfolding harmony and goodness.

Speaking of a plan of unfolding harmony, I have found that Life is like a song that’s already complete and already recorded. This is not predestination, but living in the 7th day of God’s creation; the creation God completed and declared to be “very good.” (Gen 1:31) If we stop our music player in the middle of the song it may not seem like the song is very good at that particular point, but if we let the song of our life play out, we know, because the perfect, loving, and good God is the composer and musician, and the kingdom of heaven is His recording studio, that each song, each life, is beautiful, complete and harmonious.

It’s important to look moment-by-moment for spiritual evidence that God IS our Life, to look with spiritual hindsight that gratefully acknowledges healing, progress, lessons, and protections, to look with spiritual foresight that allows us to trust God and expect an infinite abundance of good. But most especially it is important to feel God’s ever-present love in the eternal now, because now is the time to “worship the Father in spirit and in truth” because “ now is the day of salvation”.