What If . . .

I used my pinky fingers to drive home from a two-day conference because the temperature of the sunbaked steering wheel was blistering hot. The conference theme was based on a treatment model for those with neurological and/or autism spectrum disorders.

While trying not to melt, I mentally reviewed the information I had learned at the conference and then reflected on how many treatments I had pursued for my son’s neurological challenges.

Reflection has a way of never letting me forget my son’s diagnosis day . . . and this time was no different. Diagnosis day feels like your life has just been hurled to another planet.

Photo: by Bhernandez from Miami, stressed and worried, CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo: by Bhernandez from Miami, stressed and worried, CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

In the name of survival, we initially try tons of treatment options wishing to return to earth, fix the mess, remove the pain, and carry on. In essence, we try to find an answer, a sort of “four-step fix-it plan,” because adjusting and accepting this new reality can be quite hard in the heat of battle.

Battles are always painful, and enormous battles are enormously painful. And, most of us live in the heat of what I call invisible battles that can make us feel crazy because we often fight ourselves—and the internal conflict is desperately painful.

Disorders, diseases, grief, loss, death of a loved one, mental and emotional pain, spiritual injury, or agony are all universal, lonely battles. Without question, most of us think, “What if?” and “If only,” believing the pain would resolve and make sense, bringing rest . . . if our choices or circumstances had been different.

Maybe you can relate.

Second-Guessing

“What if . . .

. . . I had known this 10 years ago?”

. . . we had tried something different?”

. . . the doctor had run more tests?”

. . . I had stronger faith?”

“If only . . .

. . . I had more money.”

. . . I had watched the pool more closely.”

. . . the driver hadn’t been drunk.”

. . . cancer was curable.”

. . . my faith was stronger.”

Our longing for resolution in this broken world is exposed when our “what ifs” or “if onlys” invade our minds. It has taken years for me to understand much of this because it is so easy to get stuck on illusions rather than battle my acceptance of reality. When God is in the mix (and He always is whether or not we like it), things can really heat up.

By the way, God can handle combat. In fact, I’ve grown very close to the Lord in moments of great conflict. So can you.

Here are some thoughts for who may be stuck in a place of pain that doesn’t make sense. Instead of pondering the circumstances, ponder how you would answer the “what ifs . . .” or “if onlys . . .” with these truths . . .

Think about It This Way

“What if . . .

. . . I believe what has happened is part of living in a shattered, sinful world?”

. . . I believe God is good and is refining my character, even though it doesn’t make sense today?”

. . . I believe God will use this in my life for a greater purpose which I may not see now?”

. . . I believe God has promised eternity with Him if I choose to place my life in His hands?”

. . . I believe that in an eternity spent with God, the battles will cease and I will be whole?”

Let Me Hear from You

These truths have changed the way I live through life’s battles. I promise these truths will change you. Here are a few questions for you:

  1. What are your “what ifs” or “if onlys”?
  2. What do you want, and are you willing to let it go?
  3. What would happen if you really believed what God teaches us about this world and the world to come?

Pick one question, and leave your answer here. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

  • Heather

    I want resolution, and why can’t I have that and heaven too?

    • Heather,
      There seems to be many feelings swirling between the words of your question. Without knowing more than what is written, it sounds like you desire peace…to have some of life’s complexities figured out and enjoy the satisfaction that hopefully comes as a result. That is an assumption on my part, and is not meant to be a criticism but an attempt to understand your need. I don’t know what your circumstances are nor do I know what you believe about heaven; I do know when the burdens of this life are so constant in pain and number, we can believe an understanding for it all would provide relief. Believe it or not, God has given us a resolution for today which is that pain and discomfort are conditions of our broken, sinful world; and we can endure as we cling to Christ and the hope of eternal life. Most often (including me), resolving to accept that is terribly difficult because it doesn’t relieve us of today’s discomfort. How easy it is to confuse relief and resolve. You are given resolution today…in many ways. Resolution comes when we accept that God has allowed this for a purpose that I can’t understand, when we trust that His ways are not our ways, when we believe that He is a God of goodness and love and what may appear to be awful and painful is ultimately for our best, when we view our condition with an eternal perspective which puts the passing of this life into its rightful place, when we fix our minds on the truths of scripture and not the fixations of today’s culture; these and many more choices of trusting bring resolve. Scripture tells us even the earth groans in pain; earth is painfully broken and we live through it only by the grace and strength and hope Christ promises. More than anything, Heather, you are seeking to understand… and Christ-full of compassion, mercy, grace, and love-knows you…knows your needs, your longings, your condition and is with you in it. His presence brings peace…but not always bodily relief. My hope is that these words will sustain you…that the truths offered will sink in and provide rest. I would love to connect again as you press on in faith and hope. Most kindly, Colleen