Anything Else
By Anthony Casperson

It’s not like I go out of my way to watch trailers for upcoming movies. But the most recent preview of Spiderman: No Way Home was kinda difficult to miss, given the circles I run in.

For now, there’s a lot of speculation. And we all know how well such attempted prognostication tends to go. (Just look up the connection between Wandavision and Mephisto.)

But as far as the trailer seems to point, this upcoming Spiderman movie will follow a plot akin to one from the comic books called One More Day. The specifics are very different (like how people came to know Peter Parker is Spiderman and what the inciting incident is for Peter to want this knowledge removed from others’ memories), but the stories are fuzzily adjacent.

And it seems Peter goes to Doctor Strange to change this unwanted aspect of his life. Interestingly, this is Spidey’s first stop in the comics as well, but the Sorcerer Supreme seems to go along with it in the movie while he doesn’t in the comics. (The one who eventually grants Peter’s request there is…Oh, please no. Not Mephisto again. I don’t think we can deal with more Mephisto theories.)

Anyway, this type of story where a person has an unwanted part of their reality to be removed from their life isn’t new. They want a different life to return to than the one they currently have. Though the specifics of the stories can vary widely, they tend to have a common perspective on the change.

The life that the person desires ends up with things being even worse than where they were to begin with.

For instance, in the One More Day comic, Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage is totally undone. And the form of the little girl that Mephisto took was what their child would have looked like if they had never made the wish, but now she will never come to exist. The final ramifications of the film’s wish is yet to be seen, but I’m guessing it’s not gonna be great.

The prevalence of this story where someone wants something to be different in their life, but discovers that it would’ve been better in the long run for their life to be exactly as it had been, makes me wonder why? How come we repeat this type of story again and again? Is there some aspect of its message that we want to internalize, but also kinda don’t want?

Well, there are many times when we wish that our lives could be different. Points of life where that one choice made a huge deal in our lives and we wish could be unmade. Places where we’d go back to a previous save point, if we could.

So, there is something in us that understands the desire for help to change aspects of our life. But what about the repetition of negative consequences when the character gets their way? Why is that repeated so often?

This is where my perspective a follower of Jesus might provide a certain direction of thought. And one idea came to the fore as I considered these multiple occurrences.


We have no way to change the outcome of choices made in the past. There’s no magic spell. No time machine. And definitely don’t go making deals with demons, because they don’t have that power either.

Therefore, what these stories teach us, time and again, is that we should be content with what we have. Pursuit of undoing the past will only lead to greater heartache and pain.

I know that for some, this pain might be the thing that we wish could change. But there are always unseen or yet-noticed blessings that can come out of even the difficulties of life.

An example from the bible comes from the book of Philippians. Paul is in prison for preaching the gospel. He’d certainly wish he could be elsewhere spreading the truth of Jesus. But even in this difficulty, he’s seen the gospel continue its reach.

And when we get to Philippians 4:10-19, we see Paul thanking the church in Philippi for giving him monetary aid. He points out that he’s not begging for the money, but is thankful for the work of God in the people’s lives as they sacrifice for a fellow brother in Jesus.

This passage is also where we get a clear perspective on contentment. He’s learned that in any situation the best thing he can do is find the work of God in the midst of it. When the Apostle has plenty, he can portray the grace of God by giving to those in need. When he’s in need, he can rejoice that others get to experience that same thing, while he learns how to thankfully receive and rely on God.

Contentment doesn’t keep us from pursuing change of circumstances, but it does teach us to focus on the work of God for the parts of our lives that we can’t change. What great thing is he doing in our life, or the lives of others, through this? What can we learn as we witness him performing his will? How can we become more like the God we serve because of this difficulty?

Oftentimes, while we’re in the midst of such difficulties, it seems that just changing the past will be easier and better than living with the consequences of our present. But one thing I can promise, if these circumstances are a result of following Jesus as he leads, any other option would lead to worse places.

God’s will for our lives is better than anything else.