I have a friend who lives with regret. I'll call him John (not his real name). Years ago, he was married to the love of his life and he didn't realize it. He was a little lazy, took things for granted, and she left him.
Fast forward nearly 10 years in time. They both remarried and moved on with their lives. John loves his wife... I think... but he's not extraordinarily happy. They really don't have too much in common... she doesn't get into his hobbies, and he goes along unwillingly to a lot of her activities just to keep her from nagging. If he had the opportunity, he'd probably have an affair.
He found his ex-wife on Classmates.com recently. The guy that she's married to is quite well off, and she still enjoys all the same things that they used to do together. I'm pretty sure that John still loves her. I know for a fact that he regrets not getting his act together back then and keeping her.
I'm worried that John might end up with another regret in his life. He's one of those people that is probably saved, but still wants to live like the world. He doesn't understand why people would spend every Sunday morning in church. He wants to look at the ladies at the mall and lust after them. He's an overall good guy, although a worldly one.
My husband has tried to talk to him, convince him that God wants more for his life than just living and partying. He tells John that if he doesn't change how he's living, he'll end up with a shack in Heaven, when he could have a much bigger house or mansion. John doesn't care. He has his fire insurance policy to keep him out of hell, and that's all he wants.
It's hard to think of this life as the temporary and ridiculously short span of time that it is. But if you think of the 100 (if you have a long life) years or so of life that you may end up with on this Earth, it is such insignificant in the grand scheme of things. In 1000 years, do I want to look back on this life and regret that I wasted so much time? I'm sure that I will to some degree, but I do try to put a little bit of effort to live a good life and do what Jesus wants. In 10,000 years, 100 years on earth is going to seem like a couple months do now. In 1,000,000 years, or 1,000,000,000,000 years, or even a google years from now (that's 1 with 100 zeros after it that I'm talking about, not the search engine)... we'll still be around. What we do today will seem so insignificant, but the time that we waste or live displeasing to God will make a difference in eternity.
I'm sure that Heaven will be great for anyone who ends up there, but will some of us have regrets there? There is no upward mobility in Heaven, and it is for all eternity. In this life you can't control what hand you are dealt. Probably everyone reading this blog is lucky enough to live in a country where many people have computers and almost everyone has electricity. Some people might be rich by their country's standards, some may be poorer. Maybe you were dealt a hand where you are ill all the time. Maybe your parents abused you. Maybe you were born with a brilliant mind and everything always seems to go your way. You can't control those things. That's the hand that God has assigned to you.
What you can control, however, is what hand you will be dealt in eternity. We can't all be missionaries to Uganda. Not every one of us can be a famous preacher. Not all of us can anonymously donate a building to a church. But we can all seek out God's will and do it. What we do today... whether we do what God asks us to do... will determine how we live for all eternity. I think that if God is a fire insurance policy and nothing more, we may have some regrets in the end. Just like my friend does in this life.