Changing the past seems to appeal to a lot of us, as evidenced by two latest movies from Hollywood. (Don’t worry! No spoilers here.)

In “Shrek Forever After” (Dreamworks Animation), Shrek sorely misses his “scary ogre” days. So, Rumpelstiltskin offers him that once-in-a-lifetime deal. Shrek could once again wallow in the mud, belch all he want and scare the wits out of the villagers for one day. The catch? “Rumpelstiltskin, in return, will take just one day of Shrek’s life—a day from his childhood, a day he wouldn’t even remember. How much trouble could that be?” ( But the crafty Rumpelstiltskin took the day Shrek was born. Thus, Shrek “exists, but doesn’t… Thanks to time-travel movies, we all know that changing one day in the past changes everything in the future. (Ibid)

Then, in “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” (Walt Disney Pictures), Dastan our hero got hold of a mystical dagger with somewhat like an hourglass as a handle which contains (what else?) magic sand, “allowing whoever wields it to rewind time by a minute and change events.” (Ibid) That dagger could really come in handy when we got hit by buyer’s remorse after splurging in a mega-sale or when we blurted out things we weren’t supposed to blurt out or when we committed a blunder we wanted to wiggle out from.

But just as we can’t fast forward to the future, so also we can’t rewind to the past. This back-to-the-future stuff is mere fiction. Instead of attempting (in vain) to change the past, we can only accept it. We cannot correct the past. We can only come to terms with it. We cannot live in the past. We can only learn from it. We cannot rewind back to the past. We can only review its lessons for the present and the future. I just thank God there’s Romans 8:28. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (ESV) Whether we had a good or bad past, it’s all in the past. Though we cannot change what happened, we can change ourselves. God allowed those things to occur for our good. And what is good for us? His purpose! Verse 29 tells us what that purpose is: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son”. So, whatever we went through, let us ask, “How can I become more Christ-like in view of what happened to me?”

Brethren, God doesn’t waste an experience.


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