I recently watched this TV series on Hulu called 11.22.63. It follows our main character Jake Epping as he is sent back in time to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Here’s the catch, he can only be sent back to October 21, 1960, and is required to live in the 60s until the fateful day on 11.22.63. Along the way, Jake encounters people he knows from his present time and tries to alter history for the better. The antagonist of the show is the past. The past doesn’t like to be changed and fights back to keep its course. As Jake is learning that some things are best left unchanged, I started learning the same thing.
You can’t change the past, you can only learn from it.
We all have regrets from our past. I am sure we all have situations we wish we could improve. Maybe it was a comment you said to someone, an action you took, or you regret not taking that job. Perhaps you would go back in time and prevent something from happening like a loved one’s unfortunate death, meeting that person who completely altered your life, or maybe a decision that made life all the harder for you. We all have those moments, and I am sure you are thinking of a few right now. The thing is, we can’t time travel and the past has already taken its course. We can’t change it; we can only learn from it.
If you could time travel, what would you change?
Would you change anything at all? Would you change a significant turning point in history or something small in your life? While Jesus was still in the tomb, I am sure if you gave the disciples the opportunity to go back in time and prevent Jesus from dying, they would. They didn’t quite have the understanding of what was going on and why this had happened. It simply didn’t make any sense to the disciples and they were scared of the repercussions of what happened. We can see the purpose behind it because we have a greater understanding. How often do things not make sense to you because you have zero knowledge to the purpose behind it?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
We all want to change something in our lives, but they all happen for a purpose. God has a reason behind all these difficult situations we go through. Why question what the God who surpasses all understanding is doing. When we are utterly confused, He still knows the purpose behind what is going on. So, if there is purpose and reason behind everything that happens in our lives, would you still want to change anything? When we want to change how a situation played out, we are essentially telling God we know what’s better. We are telling God, who surpasses all understanding, that we know what we need. The simple truth, we are wrong.
Don’t dwell on the past, but rather, live in the present and look to the future.
The rearview mirrors in our cars are small for a reason. It’s important to see what has happened in the past so we can learn from it. The windshield is big because God wants us to continue forward and not dwell in the past and what could have been. Instead of wishing you could change something, ask yourself what you will learn. God uses difficult times to mature us, grow us, and refine us to be more like Him. We often describe these uncertain times as storms, but don’t plants need water to grow? Aren’t droughts bad for the crops? We shouldn’t expect peace when we ask God to remove us from this drought; we should expect a storm.
God has a reason for allowing things to happen. We may never understand His wisdom, but we simply have to trust His will.
Take a look at those times you wish you could change, would you still change them? God had you go through those difficult times to help grow you into the person you are today. He sees who you are becoming in the storm. He is strengthening you for the battles you will face. He is growing you so you can stand tall in the midst of the enemy. Don’t worry about changing the past; it’s taken its course. Instead, learn from what you went through. Don’t try and prevent future storms from happening, that’s where you grow. Trust God in His infinite wisdom knowing that He has a plan and purpose behind what is going on. Keep your eyes on Him and He will direct your path.
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