Have you ever felt that you missed an opportunity?  If only I had said… If only I had done that… If only I hadn’t missed that call… If only...

This past week I read a devotion that spoke to this very human experience:

Taking the Initiative Against Despair*

Rise, let us be going —Matthew 26:46

In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples went to sleep when they should have stayed awake, and once they realized what they had done, it produced despair. The sense of having done something irreversible tends to make us despair. We say, "Well, it’s all over and ruined now; what’s the point in trying anymore." If we think this kind of despair is an exception, we are mistaken. It is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize we have not taken advantage of a magnificent opportunity, we are apt to sink into despair...

The disciples, in this instance, had done a downright unthinkable thing— they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus. But our Lord came to them taking the spiritual initiative against their despair and said, in effect, "Get up, and do the next thing." If we are inspired by God, what is the next thing? It is to trust Him absolutely and to pray on the basis of His redemption.

Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step. 

Lord, thank you, that when we “mess up,” you don’t leave us behind but say, “Let us be going…” Give us the courage to take that next step so that we may bring glory and honor to your name! Amen. 

*Oswald Chambers, Utmost for His Highest, February 18, 2008.