It’s a common science fiction theme.
The TV show begins with characters looking back over their lives to the point where a tragedy occurred. They’ve spent years wishing this terrible situation never would have happened.
But now — through amazing scientific discoveries and technological advancements — they can travel back in time and fix what went wrong.
It takes heroic measures, but by the end of the show our characters find themselves sailing through life — just the way it should be.
Talented writers have used this storyline to craft TV episodes and movies that have become fan favorites.
And why not?
Haven’t we all wished we could go back in time and change things?
Found a way to prevent that accident?
Noticed something was wrong — long before we got that diagnosis?
Or not done — or said — that stupid thing that really hurt someone?
If you’re like me, you’ve learned that regrets occur.
But I’m finding hope in the Biblical account of a man named Peter.
His story is in the New Testament.
Peter is a fisherman, who becomes a devoted follower of Christ. He will see Jesus do incredible miracles — which include raising the dead to life, healing the sick and casting out demons.
He sees Jesus feed a cast of 5,000 men (not including women and children) on five loaves of bread and two fish. And if that meal-stretching miracle isn’t enough, Peter will see Christ stop winds and waves just by telling a nasty storm to “be still.”
Peter’s also watched Jesus set the record straight with selfish religious leaders determined to keep their power — no matter what the cost.
And Peter knows those religious leaders only intend evil for our Lord.
So perhaps we can understand Peter’s concern and confusion when — at the last supper Christ ever has with his disciples — Jesus says he will go someplace they can’t go, well, not right away.
We know Jesus is talking about his death and heaven.
But at this point, his disciples don’t have a clue and Peter blurts out the “now” question.
“Lord, why can’t I follow you now?” Peter asks. “I will lay down my life for you.”
You’d think Jesus would pat Peter on the back and thank him, right?
Instead Christ asks, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
The 18th chapter of the book of John tells how Jesus is arrested and taken away to a high priest who questions him. Peter and another disciple follow along.
In this account, which starts at verse 15, Peter is asked three times if he knows Jesus.
Each time, Peter says “no.”
The last time Peter denies ever knowing Christ, a rooster crows.
In the 22nd chapter of Luke, it says Jesus then turns and looks straight at Peter who remembers what Christ said earlier.
Peter weeps bitterly.
I wish I could travel back in time and tell Peter that everything will work out.
Because, after all, wouldn’t a frantic, fuzzy-haired, English-speaking woman be able to make the distraught disciple feel better?
All jokes aside, I feel sorry for Peter when I read this.
And — if you’ve lived any time on this earth at all — you know the pain of wishing so badly that things would have gone differently.
Yet Peter will learn that our Lord has a plan unlike anything the downhearted disciple could have imagined.
Our God is an expert at bringing good out of bad situations.
It’s true Jesus died a terrible death on a cross, but he was raised from the dead.
And his death paves the way for believers to go to heaven.
Before Jesus died, we were doomed. Our sin, which began with Adam and Eve, separated us from God and eternal life.
But when Jesus died on that cross, we got a second chance.
We don’t go back in time to get that chance. We go forward in the grace and mercy of our loving Lord Jesus.
If we believe Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins, repent of (turn from) our sins and ask Christ to come into our hearts and be our savior — we can go to heaven.
It’s a place where we don’t wish for do-overs or mourn over regrets.
What shall we do in the meantime? We cling to our Lord who can help us make our way through all the times of our lives.
I was reminded of this after I watched an episode of Star Trek Enterprise.
In this episode, Captain Jonathan Archer (played by Scott Bakula) is in a terrible accident that messes up his memory and forces him to leave his command.
Earth is destroyed by villainous aliens and only about 6,000 humans escape.
But 12 years later, Archer and one of his former officers, Commander T’Pol, have a chance to do something that will re-write history.
Guess what happens?
Yep — spoiler alert — they save the world in just under an hour.
Typically, I enjoy these adventurous shows that leave viewers with a “happy ending” feeling.
Yet I was kind of sad after watching this. Like other people, I wish some things would have gone very differently in my life.
I wish I hadn’t lost some of my precious loved ones so soon.
The world can be a really crazy place and I didn’t want to face the future without them.
And even with all the marvelous, before-unheard-of technology, life can seem a little scary as the days unfold.
Funny thing, as I began to think such thoughts, I believe the Holy Spirit brought the words of an old song to my mind.
The lyrics to the song, by Bill and Gloria Gaither, include: “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow; Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future; And life is worth the living, just because He lives….”
This song is a reminder of God’s faithfulness and the tender mercies of our Savior Jesus.
We can ask God to heal our aching hearts and seek him for courage to face the days ahead. We can believe the God who says:
“‘I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord of hosts, “‘plans to prosper and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
We may not be able to change the past, but we can trust the God, who says, “I will never leave nor forsake you,” to be with us as we travel through our times here on earth.
God can give us hope, peace, strength and comfort as we seek him.
And the place where we’ll spend eternity will be marvelously unlike anything even the most creative science fiction writer could dream up.