Many years ago, my wife inherited a beautiful maple table. It was special to her and though we really didn’t have a place for it and moved many times, we kept it. So even though it was special to her, since we didn’t have room to place it prominently somewhere, it ended up in my daughter’s bedroom. This daughter enjoyed arts and crafts and even went through some sort of “carving” season into her furniture. Needless to say, when we “re-inherited” it, it was in pretty bad shape.
After sitting in this condition for many years, I decided one summer to make it a refinishing project. I’m the worst at things like this because I don’t have the patience it takes to do a really nice job. So I had at it, sanding and scraping, then sanding again by hand. And when that wasn’t going fast enough, I brought out the heavy machinery, a sander.
Ink was spilled into the grain and so I repeatedly sanded that area until it was nearly gone. Then I realized I focused on that same area so long that it was now sunken in and unsightly. To correct this, it took countless hours and even in the end it still wasn’t perfect.
Today it sits just outside our kitchen as a monument of my lack of foresight, my impatience, and my imperfections. If I had just taken the time to pay attention and learn how to do it correctly and been more patient, I’d have no regrets looking at it.
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. Psalm 119:1-5 KJV
No doubt, David had regrets. I’m sure he, like all of us, yearned to go back to a time before we made many of the bad choices in our lives. Many times, we have wished we could go back and redo or undo a bad decision.
Blessed and happy are often interchanged in the use of the word “blessed.” Sadly, in contrast, David was no stranger to sorrow and sadness, often brought upon himself with poor choices. In Psalm 119, David challenges others, and perhaps yearns for himself a life of happiness and blessing that comes along the path of walking in the “law of the Lord,” keeping God’s testimonies, and seeking God first and foremost. Here too, David was no stranger, he too often took his focus off God and placed them on other dangerous distractions. This lack of focus was really a lack of discipline.
David laments his lack of discipline, as he shared his desire that his habit, his way of life, his journey, would be directed for him, forced upon him. Then perhaps, walking the blessed life path, would be possible. If somehow, someone could do this, then he too could enjoy this blessing.
Clearly, David knew the answer to happiness, he just lacked the discipline to achieve it. It is a road we all walk alone, except the outstretched arm of God which reaches down to guide us if we can just stay focused on the path to see it. It’s not unachievable, but it requires discipline on our part, a desire to follow His lead, His commands, and not be easily distracted from them.
With a clear roadmap for success, God has provided the blueprints for avoiding those things which would rob our joy and happiness. A blueprint which will help us avoid the blemishes and pits which are constant reminders in front of us on a daily basis of our shortcomings, our impatience, and our disregard for seeking instruction.
Following His blueprints are a guaranteed plan for success, happiness, and no regrets.
Dr. Ronald J. Barnes, Jr.
February 23, 2022