I woke up, and while still in bed, I stretched and yawned one night during my visit to Ecuador. As I pondered about the time, I had no way to find out. My cell phone didn't work--no connection. Unlike here in the States, there was no land line phone to use to call for time.

Most of you who are sighted, would glance toward your phone or clock and know the exact time. Not so for this blind gal.

Surely it must be morning, I thought. So, I started my morning routine. But before getting dressed, I realized it must still be the middle of the night as I heard no birds singing.

Have you done the same? We all do it, don't we? We take action and begin our routine at the wrong time. Even worse, we forge on without checking God's timing. Without consulting His will. And without seeking His guidance.

Then when we're in the middle of the journey, things begin to fall apart. That's when we try to hide our regret, and, with a sorrowful look, we ask God for His input, His help and rescue.

Jesus told that very story in Luke 15. He relates how a young man chose to follow the recipe for bitter regret marinated in foolishness. And often we do, too. We go through these five stages:

We follow our own intuition, our wisdom and whims. "....the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living" (Luke 15:13).

Later, we evaluate the situation and scratch our head, wondering how we got there. "After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need" (Luke 15:11).

We scramble, looking for an answer. "So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs" (Luke 15:15).

We recognize our bad timing, our mistakes and our pitiful ending. "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you'" (Luke 15:17).

The glorious good news is God welcomes us back: "The son came back home and...while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him" (Luke 15:20 ).

The father delighted in the son's return. God does the same. No matter the foolish path, the sad mistakes, the pitiful choices, we can always, always come back. God will run to meet us, throw His arms of compassion around us and give us the kiss of forgiveness.

What regret still nags at you today?

Janet Eckles

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