Sunday, December 9, 2012

What if...?

Our LifeGroup is awesome.  We do awesome stuff together.  The other night, the awesome thing we did was find a possum crawling along the top of the fence in our backyard.  The kids were all very excited: the boys excitedly running toward it...and the girls excitedly running away!

My 11-year-old brother took off toward the possum, saying, "It's so cute!  I wanna hold it!!"

I grabbed him by the shoulders and said in my most serious joking voice, "But what if it bites you? and what if it has rabies? and what if you get sick and DIE?!?"

He, in all his wisdom, then grabbed me by the shoulders and said in his most animated voice, "Or what if it doesn't bite me? and what if it doesn't have rabies? and what if I don't get sick and die?!?"

That hit me like a ton of bricks.  And it reminded me of something else I read recently.

"You tend to project yourself mentally into the next day, week, month, year, decade; and you visualize yourself coping badly in those times.  What you are seeing is a false image, because it doesn't include Me."  (Jesus Calling)

We play the What If Game ALL. THE. TIME.

"What if something bad happens?"  "What if it doesn't work out?"  "What if I lose my job?"  "What if I lose this person?"  "What if my plans fail?"  "What if they don't approve of me?"  "What if it hurts?"  "What if I can't?"  "What if I'm wrong?"  "What if...?  What if...?  What if...?"

When we ask those questions, we are projecting ourselves into the future and forgetting the most important element: our God.  We see a false future when we leave Him out.  We see a future dependent on us.  That's not our future.  Our future not only includes our God, our God is our future.

In Isaiah 41, as He is promising over and over to be with His people, He says in verse 4, "I’m first on the scene.  I’m also the last to leave."  We never beat Him to the future.  He is always there first!  And He never bails out before it's over.  He sticks it out and is the last One standing.  Our future is completely wrapped in Him from beginning to end!

So what do we do with our What If Game?

"When a future-oriented worry assails you, capture it and disarm it by suffusing the Light of My Presence into that mental image."  (Jesus Calling)

Or as Paul says, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."  (2 Corinthians 10:5)

What would His Presence do to our what ifs?

"What if something bad happens and He works it for good because I love Him and am called according to His purpose?"
"What if it doesn't work out the way I imagined and He does far MORE than I could ask or imagine?"
"What if I lose my job and get to see His miraculous provision firsthand?"
"What if I lose this person and realize that Jesus is all I need?"
"What if my plans fail and I get to experience the plans that He has to give me hope and a future?"
"What if they don't approve of me and I learn that His approval is all that matters?"
"What if it hurts and I get to know His comfort?"
"What if I can't and He becomes my strength?"
"What if I'm wrong and His grace is still sufficient?"
"What if Jesus...?  What if Jesus...?  What if Jesus...?"

His Presence is a game-changer, isn't it?  He makes me look forward to my what ifs, because whatever they are, I know they are wrapped in Him.  I have confidence because of Him.  I have hope because of Him.  I have courage because of Him.  My what ifs become spectacular when they are bursting with the Light of His Presence!

I know you've played the What If Game.  We all have.  It's a classic.  But there's this new version out!  You just have to play it!  It's called What If Jesus...?