The Back to the Future franchise, the Terminator franchise, Lost, Doctor Who, Travelers, Timeless, Quantum Leap, A Christmas Carol, The Time Machine—we have been entertained by stories involving time travel for over 200 years! There’s something universal about the idea of traveling to different times, exploring the future, and fixing the past. So how much time traveling do you do? Really, how often do we let our minds wander to the past or future? Have you already thought about what the day is going to bring? When your lunch break is? Or are you dwelling on what your co-worker did yesterday? What your spouse said last week? What a family member did last decade? Are you still dealing with guilt from a past mistake? It’s probably more rare to be present in the moment than it is to be thinking about another time. We are time travelers, but we shouldn’t be.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
“So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.” (1 Peter 1:14)
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,” (Philippians 3:13)
These verses only scratch the surface of what the Bible says about looking backward at the past. It is not for us to do, especially when the Lord has redeemed our past. In Hebrews 8:12, the Lord says, “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” That is the goal we should work toward: once we have forgiven someone, we should not remember the wrongdoing. We should not return to the past—not the past mistakes of others, not the past mistakes of our own, and not our old ways of following our sinful nature. The new is now.
What about traveling to the future? Thinking about tomorrow or tonight or an hour from now? What’s for dinner? What time is the game on? Is that investment going to pay off?
“Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.’ How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’” (James 4:13-15)
"So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34)
“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? (…) So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:27, 31-33)
Jesus says that thinking about, dwelling on, and worrying about the future, are things unbelievers think about. Why? As believers, we know that the future is in God’s hands and we have no need to dwell on or worry about the future!
“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Jesus redeems our past and plans our future. The same universal truths that interest us in time travel—the ability to go back and fix the past, the curiosity of the future—Jesus has taken care of it all. We have no reason to look back and all reason to hope and trust in the future He is preparing. So what’s best for us?
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” (Psalm 46:10)
“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.” (Proverbs 37:7)
What a blessing it is that we have the Holy Spirit within us, that our bodies are His temple and we can simply be still wherever we are and be in the presence of the Lord. This is where our minds and hearts need to be, not focusing or returning to the past which has been forgiven and redeemed, and not worrying about the future which is in God’s perfect hands. We should be focused on the present, being still in the moment in the presence of our Lord God.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.