I recently saw a movie called “Edge of Tomorrow,” starring Tom Cruise. He plays a man named Cage, a soldier in the not-too-distant future. A ferocious race of aliens known as Mimics have descended from space to stake their claim on Earth and Cage is drafted to lead the assault against these alien invaders, although he is inexperienced in combat. He is unceremoniously dumped at London’s Heathrow Airport, into a military unit called J Squad. However, as soon a Cage lands on the battlefield he is killed during a fight with a Mimic. Much to his shock, he awakens at Heathrow Airport – but it is the previous morning. His death triggered a reset of the same day and the entire scenario plays out over and over again. However, each time he repeats the same day, he makes changes to impact the outcome of the battle.
If God gave you an opportunity to change one day from your past, which one would you modify? What would you do different, who would you choose to avoid, and what would you take back? Think about this for a second before you answer.
Would you say yes this time around to a financial investment? Would you change your career, run like heck when you saw your spouse coming, or decline an interview? Would you snooze one hour longer on that fateful morning or not go to Walmart that Thursday evening for bananas? Some of us may be thinking we need an additional 10 days to clean up that mess on aisle 13.
Most of us would leap at the opportunity to change at least one major past event. That distant, stupid decision you are thinking about right now is probably your most painful secret . . . right?
However, would your “good” change make life more fulfilling or generate unexpected, negative side effects? Maybe winning the lottery deposits a boatload of bucks in your lap, but leaves you up the creek without a paddle. Could that new relationship be more of a headache than you ever imagined? A late start may have eliminated a foolish choice, but what would you be lacking in experience that costs your much more in the future?
The reality is that whether we sneak-peak our future or change our past, all things still would be in God’s hands. Our best modifications and manipulations to our future or history would still need to be orchestrated by him (Romans 8:28). The reason why is that we can never see the total picture.
Our ability to change our past and manipulate the future will not make us omniscient.
There would still be too many variables that we could never account for. Having the opportunity to tweak history would not necessarily make things better. In fact, they will likely create a total disaster for ourselves. That one change does not necessarily guarantee your expected outcome. Our lives are like a crocheted sweater: pulling one thread unravels the whole masterpiece, turning it into a pile of useless twine.
Some years ago, I was walking to my car and complaining inwardly to God about my situation. He told me, “Stop complaining. If it was not this, it would be something else.”
The best way we can live our lives is to trust the One who hold the past, present, and future all at the same time. The Scriptures encourage us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not to our own understanding. In all our ways, we are to acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). In his sovereignty He has allowed “this” instead of “that”. We just think that “that” would be better than “this”. If you got that, praise the Lord.
Sometimes we are guilty of allowing our regrets to outweigh our rejoicing. We continually look over our history and lament the mistakes and wonder what if. What we fail to remember is that if it had not been for the Lord giving us the victory over that issue, we would still be in bondage. The Lord may have delivered us five years ago and instead of rejoicing in victory, we allow our regret to outweigh our rejoicing. We rehearse that same old tired story that nobody wants to hear instead of trumpeting the triumph (Philippians 3.13-14). Which is greater, the bondage or the victory?
In the movie, Cage had to die before he could experience a reset of his day. The edge of our tomorrow does not rest in our ability to change our past, but in our ability to die to yesterday. Until we die to yesterday, we are not ready for our tomorrow. The edge of our tomorrow begins by dying daily (1 Corinthians 15:31). That death triggers our reset.
We must remind ourselves that all of our past choices made us better, smarter, and prepared us for the next level of challenge. In retrospect, it is the collection of our worst mistakes and good choices that made us who we are. Without them, I would not be me.
So would you really make that change? Really?