With the heat of summer bearing upon us and the sweat of expectation beading up on our necks, I invite you in. Come unwind in the shade and join me in a gentle refreshing of our minds. Will you sit a moment and do some holy wondering with me?
TWO TYPES OF WHAT-IFS
The way I see it, there are two types of what-ifs we can allow our thoughts to mull over. Both beg for our attention and consideration, but only one is rightly worthy of it.
There is the most common form — negative in nature, quick to drag heart and mind down an ugly path of fear, doubt, and frustration. Those what-ifs are easy to come by, lurking in the flesh of self, ready to drown you in diminished hope.
Alternatively, there are those of the profound type — what-ifs that require intentionality and often lead to meaningful change and productive discovery. These are the what-ifs we should be purposeful in asking ourselves, the ones worthy of mindful reflection. Though not nearly as easy to elicit, they are powerful for sanctification and merit our still thoughts.
WHAT-IFS OF A HOLY NATURE
Paul imparted some riveting what-ifs of a holy nature in his letter to the Romans, providing a healthy examination of alternate possibilities. In this case, he recounted what had actually come to pass:
What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of His wrath — prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory? Romans 9:22-23, NIV
WHAT IF ALL YOU EVER DID WAS…
A short time ago, in fellowship over a modest feast around our table, an influential voice in my life candidly asked, “What if all you ever did was love your husband well; raise these three girls God has given; hold this family and home together in quiet faithfulness, anchored and reliant on Jesus, then died? What if that was all? Would it be enough? Would that life be a ‘success’?“
My untrustworthy emotions immediately raised a flag in protest, combating the notion with upstanding ‘could bes’ and ‘should dos’. Righteous ones even! But what of all the additional marvelous and impressive accomplishments I could attain for Jesus? My more culture was showing. Yet deep within, a tender nudge of the Spirit begged me to be still, to listen, and to consider. He invited me to re-calibrate who and what I was allowing to define a ‘successful’ life. My mind held, turned over, and examined with wonder the thought, ‘Tiffany, what if those things really are enough? Can what Jesus declares enough, be enough for you?’
Let’s continue our holy wondering —
What if, instead of all the things we dream of…
What if, instead of all the things we deem successful…
What if, instead of accomplishing much, and more, and then another…
What if, instead of being the one who thought it up, that next great thing…
What if, instead of being loud and heard and known…
What if, instead of doing more and being more and making more and achieving more…
What if, instead of all the more, it was only the one?
What if, instead of great and wonderful, it was only better?
What if, instead of being dressed in glamour, it was just plain old messy faithfulness?
What if, instead of a rush to do and be, it was an invitation to listen and become?
Allow heartfelt regard of these what-ifs today. Not the fear spurred version. Rather, the holy ones. The ones that may not look so pretty, because the hidden quiet faithful places usually aren’t. I wonder, what if we chose them still, and what if we devoted heart and soul there, electing not to distract or compound? What if we laid down the hustle and frenzy and picked up quiet intention in its place? What if we cleared away and stripped down to the simple musts and found our profound meaning there, and worried not with all the rest? What if we chose doing the one or two things God has placed before us today well, instead of a dozen other things half-hearted and worn? And what if that was all we accomplished? Would it be enough ?
In case your own more culture is showing – in case you are unsure and dry and weary from fly-by-night frenzy – allow me to pour you a refreshingly fervent and wholehearted, ‘Hallelujah, AMEN! Yes ma’am it most certainly would be a grand and sacred success!’
Renewed in thought, let us then pursue with delight the simple and evident assignments at our feet. And may we do so with a heart satisfied, not in the potential accomplishments of this world, but fulfilled and empowered by the great love and purpose provided us in Jesus.
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