(This is a repost from 2012. As I’ve been working on a lesson on the sovereignty of God today, I was reminded of this post from several years ago. Thought I’d share it with you again.)

Waiting in LineHave you ever had a “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve” day? This is a day in which you second guess yourself and the way you did things because the results were not what you had hoped for. If I would have done this… I should have done that… I could have done that, and wish I had… Things would be different if I would have…

I had one of those days this past Friday as I had the privilege of driving to downtown Memphis to sign up for my week of jury duty. Memphis does this differently than the other cities where I have lived. Instead of getting a summons to appear on such and such a date for jury duty, you get a summons to appear at a set time on a certain day to sign up for a week you want to serve. It sounds simple, right? Wrong.

This was my first time to get a summons for jury duty in Memphis and so I was not sure what to expect. Even though friends told me to take my calendar, and sit on the outside, I was not prepared for what transpired that afternoon. Over 4000 people were there, all trying to get their “perfect” week. There was a system we had to follow, but it didn’t go as smoothly as one might think from the directions. Competing with 4000 people to get your preferred week is no easy task.

I had two weeks out of the choices given that would have been a good fit for my schedule, but I was too far back in the line to get those weeks. I finally got the last week offered, but it was my last choice.

All the way home, I kept saying, “I should have gotten in line right away, even though I didn’t want the first week called. I could have gone to the other line which was probably shorter and maybe I would have gotten my choices. I should have sat on the outside of the room instead of the center of the room. I could have stayed and pleaded with the judge for another week. If I would have sat on the far side of the room, I would have had a better chance.” You get the idea.

Would’ve, could’ve, should’ve . . . We can say it all day long, but it’s not going to change the situation. What’s done is done. Get over it, I kept telling myself.

What are some lessons we can learn from these “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve” days when we wish we had done things differently?

  • Remember that God is sovereign. He is ultimately in control and will cause “all things to work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). We can’t change what’s in the past, but we can trust that God will use it for good in some way.
  • Learn from this experience and do it differently next time. Don’t make the same mistakes twice. Next time I get called downtown to sign up for my week of jury duty, I know exactly where I am going to sit and which side of the room I’m going to move toward to stand in line. I know what I should do and could do and will do.
  • Tell others what would benefit them before they go through a similar situation. Prepare them and help them avoid the mistakes you made.

The next time you find yourself saying, I could have . . . I should have . . .  if I would have . . . Stop! Trust God to use this for good, and let Him teach you from it.

What has God taught you from your “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve” days?