I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.
–2 Timothy 4:7
To prepare for your journey to Heaven, you must minimize your pre-departure regrets.
Have you ever had this experience? You are at the departure gate getting ready to get on a plane, and you remember something you should have done. “I should have stopped the newspaper.” “I should have stopped the mail.” “I should have packed a warmer coat or an extra pair of socks.” You know what I am talking about. You wish you had done something, but it is too late. Now, those kinds of regrets are minimal; they have no lasting consequences. But if you come to the end of your life ready to enter into Heaven with regrets, then that is a whole different story.
As a pastor, I have had the experience many times of sitting with Christians who were about to die and listening to them lament their regrets in life: relationships they wish they had maximized, relationships they wished they had not broken, and opportunities they should have taken advantage of.
Bronnie Ware was a worker in a care center who listened to many deathbed confessions. Out of that experience, she created a list of the top five regrets of the dying:
- “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
- “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
- “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
- “I wish I had stayed in touch with my family.”
- “I wish I had let myself be happier.”
Regrets are like a cancer. They eat at the very soul of our being, and that is certainly no way to spend your final days here on earth.
My father was a successful man by any standard. He was a follower of Christ, enjoyed an upper-middle-class income, traveled the world, was respected by colleagues and friends, and was loved by his family. Yet during the months preceding his death from pancreatic cancer, I listened to him lament over the “what ifs” and “if onlys” of his life. My dad’s final months on this earth were not altogether happy ones. Through his experience, I learned that regrets have the power to extinguish the joy of an otherwise happy life.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How Can I Prepare For My Journey To Heaven?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Bronnie Ware, “Regrets Of The Dying,” November 19, 2009, http://bronnieware.com/regrets-of-the-dying/.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.lockman.org)