Points to Ponder: Buyer's Remorse
Points to Ponder
I was only twenty-five at the time when I put a contract on my very first house. I had dreamed of becoming a homeowner ever since I was a kid. (To some, being twenty-five meant I was still a kid.) It was 3657 Dudley Avenue in Baltimore City; a two-bedroom townhouse with hardwood floors, a small backyard, and a front lawn. I'd grown up in a row house. I wanted a townhouse; that meant a lawn out front, and maybe even out back. Sure enough, I found the townhouse I could afford. I signed the multiple papers and I was committed.
About a day and a half later, the realtor called to check on me. Was I having doubts? Questions? Second thoughts? I'd just signed my name with the intention of being in debt like I'd never been before, and for thirty years. As a wise salesperson, she was checking for buyer's remorse. It's that faint whisper or that heart-pounding panicky cry in your head that, having thought about your recent decision, says, "WHAT HAVE I DONE???"
I did not struggle with that. I'd already worked it out and committed in my head and heart to do what was required to secure the house I would eventually find. But we can experience buyer's remorse with any kind of serious commitment.
People commit to marriages that the next day they regret. Some accept a risky job change that could be great if everything works out right; but then it doesn't. Right after they resign the sure thing they had, there may be a sense of buyer's remorse. Uh oh.
Moses seemed to have a bit of that right after his encounter with the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-10). When he finally accepts God's call on his life and prepares to leave for his assignment in Egypt, he requests leave from his father-in-law. But, he doesn't give Jethro the whole story (Exodus 4:18). No mention of an incredible encounter with God, or the exciting opportunity for travel, doing cool illustrations with a staff that can turn into a snake. No - no hint of having accepted an assignment from the God of heaven. He tells Jethro he wants to go back to Egypt to see if any of his people are still alive. Maybe he put it that way so that the door was still open for him in case he ran back. If this trip is his idea in Jethro's eyes, then chickening out later won't look so bad. Moses had bluntly and honestly begged God to send someone else (4:13).
If he had claimed that God had called him, given a testimonial of his burning bush encounter, and did the snake trick for him, well then, he'd be committed. And backing out, or running away from the call, would be a lot harder. Jethro, as we see in later accounts of him, is a wise man of integrity. You want to hedge your bets when you give your story to people like him because they'll hold you accountable.
Buyer's remorse is that feeling of regret that comes following a decision to commit. But for some who struggle with decisions that will end up closing some doors forever and altering the course of their lives, there may be an anticipation of remorse. Will I be sorry later for this? So we might not put 100% into the commitment or keep a few other irons in the fire, in case God doesn't keep His word; if He lets us down, we'll be ready with other options. Thus Jesus admonishes would-be followers to "count the cost" before making the commitment (Luke 14:27-33).
I find guidance and assurance in Psalm 37; numerous intertwining verses that speak to this matter of buyer's remorse, or anticipated buyer's remorse. God's Word makes it plain: trust in the Lord's sovereignty in every matter. Even in the struggle to discern the right path and to courageously plunge into that path, there is joy in trusting Him through it all.
"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. . . . The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand." (Psalm 37:4-5, 23-24)
Notice how you begin by delighting in the Lord and committing your way to Him. He then gives you the desires of your heart, establishes the steps for you to take and then it is He who delights in your way. If He's holding your hand, that also must mean that, through your commitment and trust, you are holding His. And when you fall (not if), you can't go completely down because He is holding on to you.
Do you find yourself questioning the call - or the Caller?
What could God really do in and with your life if you really trusted Him?
"But Jesus said to him, 'No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.'" (Luke 9:62)
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. These articles are also found at www.HilltopChristianFellowship.com.