Time travel is possible.
We cannot physically travel through time. But we can “travel in time” to revisit painful events in our past and recast them in our imaginations so the same events do not mean the same thing to us anymore.
When I was a young boy, I was short, insecure, and did not have any friends in school. I hated going to school. I felt unseen, unheard, and unknown. One particularly vulnerable day at home, I was lying down next to my mother, tearful about how no one liked me, spoke to me, or cared about me. My heart was grieving and my words were shaking.
My mother was one of the sweetest women I have ever known. Her heart was full of love and she loved like a lion—fiercely and fully. But she had a lifelong struggle with mental illness, paranoid delusions, and depressive episodes. She was under the power of its darkness when I unburdened myself to her. She snapped at me and said, “Stop being such a baby!”
I was too young to know she was too ill to feel for me. But I do not think I will ever forget that day.
Something inside me died that day. It was the day my heart grew a little colder, harder, and tougher. It was when I felt I now had to look out for myself; no one would look out for me. It was the day a child became an orphan. Death is in the power of the tongue, says the writer of Proverbs (Prov. 18:21).
Years later, our marriage counsellor gave me a precious pattern of prayer that led me to believe time travel is possible.
She said, “Whenever you are angry, upset, or overwhelmed, go to Jesus and ask him, ‘Lord, have you ever felt the way I am feeling right now?'”
“Then meditate on the life of Jesus,” she said.
So I did, and I met the Man of sorrows. I met the man whose mother and brothers thought he was out of his mind, the man whose own brothers did not believe him. I met the one whose friends deserted him and fled, whose own people crucified him, whose enemies mocked him, whose body was abused, and whose honour was stripped to suffer the indignity of the cross.
In prayer, the Lord led me back to that scene in my life. I saw myself standing at the bedside watching the little boy calling for help from his mother, only to be rebuked. Then I imagined something else.
I saw the Lord standing beside me, telling me, “Look at that boy. I chose him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in my sight. In love, I predestined him for adoption to sonship. I have called him by name. He is mine.”
I do not think I will ever forget that day.
Something came alive in me that day. It was the day my heart grew a little softer, warmer, and tender. It was when I felt I no longer had to look out for myself; someone had always been watching over me. It was the day an orphan felt like a child again.
Life is also in the power of the tongue, says the writer of Proverbs (Prov. 18:21).
What was once the scene of shame turned into the stage for glory. The place of pain turned into a platform of praise; a bleeding wound turned into a scar that bore witness to a scarred Saviour, who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20).
Jesus does not simply give us a new future. He gives us a new past.
What if today’s unanswered prayer is actually an answer to a prayer God knows you will pray in the future? What if the power of yesterday’s trauma can be weakened by the power of God’s healing words in you today? What if the perilous thing you are facing today can be overcome by the glorious eternal vision of a new creation taking its rightful place in your imagination?
Time travel is possible with Jesus.
Go with him to those dark places in the past, let him speak words of healing into your heart, and let the power of his tongue turn death into life.