What if?

imageWhat if? It has plagued all of our minds at one point in time or another. What if I don’t get that job? What if my spouse cheats on me? What if the doctors tell me something is wrong? What if I do not get accepted to that college? What if my child is taken? What if I loose my own life?….The list is wide and vast. This simple little question can roll so fiercely through our minds that it levels our determination and focus. The torrent it brings with it pulls us into the current of fear, anxiety, and disbelief. “what if’s” threaten our sanity but more than that, they threaten our faith.

A gentle country creek rolls peaceably through my grandparents homestead, it brings so much laughter and joy to our family. Yet when the rains pour down, this otherwise gentle body of water turns into a dangerous torrent of whitecaps, spilling over from the banks that so easily retained it just the day before. Threatening to wash away anything that gets in its path.

These “what if’s” that circulate through our minds bring that same kind of destruction. The mainstream of our minds cannot hold in the dangerous flow. They get out of hand quickly. Bringing down with them our peace.

I read something this past week that brought up this very point out of Daniel 3. It’s a familiar seen for most. Three faithful men standing up in the midst of the masses who choose to bow. These men stand in the shadow of an idol that casts a fearful image. All who refused to bow would be thrown into the furnace of fire. But strangely enough as the men were confronted and given another chance to bow, they refused. The daunting fear of the blazing flames where no match to their love and devotion for God. Something greater than fear helped the men to stand; trust. Their response tells it all:

“ if this is so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand O king, but even if He does not, we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up.” verses 17-18

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abedinego believed their God was able. They knew that all the power for deliverance was in the hands of their God, they were certain of it.

I find myself here, knowing He is able. Understanding that his power has no limit. Believing that nothing is impossible for Him. I get that. But…what if he isn’t willing?

I think many of us feel torn between knowing he is able and being afraid he won’t. That is where the “what if’s” start rolling and a tidal wave of doubt ebbs away at our faith, like the roaring creek ebbs away at the banks.

For many of us we don’t doubt God’s goodness; we doubt how and when he will show it. Believing he is able but shaking in fear as we wait on the manifestation of it is UNBELIEF.

When Abraham was tested by God by being asked to offer up his son as a sacrifice, Abraham believed in God’s ability to provide (GEN 21). He didn’t know, nor was he sure, if God was willing in that moment. His mind didn’t rest on the “what if’s” but instead on the faithfulness of God. Hebrews 11 states that “He (Abraham) considered that God was able to raise him back from the dead.” You see if Issac died, the promise died with him and if that happened then God would be unfaithful. Abraham knew God was able and he left the outcome in His hands; for He knew that His faithfulness would cause Him to act. He just believed two things: 1. God was able 2. God is faithful. And with that he left the HOW of his provision up to God.

The three amigos we see in Daniel 3 did the same thing. They knew God was able to deliver but they also knew that even if He didn’t, He is still good and He is still faithful.

What if we exchanged our “what if’s” for “even if’s”? for example:
what if something happens…..
even if something happens…..

One is filled with doubt. The other filled with faith. One thrusts the problem into the hands of the Almighty, the other grasps onto it with dear life trying to figure it all out. One is filled with confidence, while the other shakes in angst. One rests in the love of God,the other questions it.

True trust lets God be God. Telling Him what to do and hoping he’ll do it, isn’t trust. Trust rests in the fact that He is God and I am not.

“What if” we trusted our God so much that when something threatens us we respond with “even if…”

“Even though the fig tree have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine;
even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.

Habakkuk 3:17-18

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