What if I would have done what God told me to when he told me to?
Life may have been different. I would have made healthier choices in high school, chose different friends and made better grades. I would have attended college immediately after high school instead of eight years later. Since I was a preacher’s kid, I could have attended one of our denomination’s colleges free of charge. That would have saved ten years of loan payments.
My “what ifs” could fill a book. Peter had a few himself. But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway (Mark 14:68).
Jesus had been betrayed, arrested and was on his way to be tried by the Jewish high court and the Roman ruler. Peter followed at a distance but finally found his way into the courtyard. When questioned about his association with Jesus, he denied it three times. A rooster and Jesus’ glance both reminded him about what might have been.
We normally call “what ifs” regrets, mistakes or bad decisions. Everyone has them. Some we can change. Others we shouldn’t try to-they are destined to remain part of our life history. Had Peter wallowed in regret, he would have returned to his old profession-which he did temporarily, with the attitude of “I failed. I’m destined for a life of misery.”
Instead, Peter let the past be the past. When Jesus issued him a chance for redemption, he took it and became one of the most successful early apostles. Some “what ifs” may define us but they don’t have to imprison us. Let God turn your “what if” into “what next?”
Prayer: Merciful Jesus, enable us to let You be the God of our bright future instead of our dark past.