Recently, when I arrived for a training course at Ellel Grange, I drove to the far end of the team car park where I can usually find a space to leave my car. On this particular morning, however, there was no space, so, because there was no room to turn my car around, I began to reverse back until I could turn around safely and find a place to park in the lower parking area. As I reversed, taking great care to avoid parked cars on my left, I neglected to pay attention to what was on my right, and suddenly there was the sound of scraping metal as I collided side-on with a telegraph pole.
When I eventually parked my car, I felt sickened as I saw its scraped and dented doors. I kept thinking, “If only I had taken more care, or had just parked in the lower parking area when I first arrived”. I was still struggling with my ‘if only’ emotions as the worship time began in the first session of the course I was on that day.
Sharing with someone on the course before we began to worship, I had joked rather weakly that there are times when you wish there was a rewind button in life, so you could go back to just before you made a wrong decision, and instead choose differently. Of course, there’s no such button. We can’t travel back in time to free ourselves of the consequences of our wrong choices, or the harm that others have caused us by theirs.
As I worshipped the Lord that morning I experienced His tender grace and simple reassurance that my damaged car could be mended.
As I thought later about what had happened with my car I remembered the worldly saying – “It’s no good crying over spilt milk”. It’s a blunt statement really, telling us that what has happened can’t be undone, and you might as well make the best of it. Many people apply that philosophy not just to damaged cars but to theirs and others damaged lives as well.
As children of God we have something better than that. Just as my car has now been taken to an expert repairer who understands exactly how it was made, so we can bring our broken lives to our Father God, the One who made us.
Perhaps you’re struggling with ‘if onlys’ in your life today. I encourage you to bring them to Jesus. Through His death and resurrection, we can know the miracle of forgiveness for our wrong choices. We can have help to forgive those who’ve wronged us, and His healing touch, which can even reach back into our past, and mend us at the point where we were wounded and broken.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I can’t change my past or undo mistakes that I’ve made. I bring my regrets and ‘if onlys’ to You today. Help me to truly lay them down, so that I can embrace the future and the hope that You have for me. In your name, I pray. Amen.