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Friday, March 27, 2020

Let your "if only" become a "what if" today.

If only...

Among the most powerful, common, painful, and pointless questions/statements we ask/make after a tragedy... "If only..."

If only, I'd have not come back to my marriage, we'd be divorced but she'd have not gotten pregnant and died...

If only, she'd discovered Whole30 before she died, she'd have been healthier and would still be here. After all, it was written years before she passed...

If only, I'd have died instead of her, she'd be doing a better job raising these boys...

If only, we had moved earlier, later, never moved...

If only, I'd gone back to working two jobs, she'd have never gone to work stocking at night and worn her body out...

Etc. Etc. Etc...

The list goes on and on and on... 

We all have those lists. I read other's lists in the Widow/Widower Facebook Groups often.

In the book of John, you see Martha and Mary have been repeating this phrase with each other, because they both say the same words when Jesus arrives on the scene. 

"If only you'd have been here, he wouldn't have died..."

Jesus doesn't really answer this to Martha it Mary. 

He does tell his disciples that there was a greater purpose buried in the event. But he never answers the women in pain. Instead, he points them toward faith, instead of indulging their painful question.

One cannot draw from this text that God intended Lazurus to die for "His Glory". That would be a misapplication of scripture... 

Rather, as we learn by consulting the whole counsel of God's Word, Satan is the thief who comes-only to kill, steal, and destroy. If those fruits are present, it's Satan's work and not God's. The Word then tells us that God will get involved and redeem even those dark things, and shine His Glory into those moments of pain and chaos.

Jesus then demonstrated His power by raising Lazurus from the dead.

But... Here's a question... 

Is Lazurus alive today? Have you seen him on television giving speeches about his time in the after life?

He, along with everyone else Jesus healed and raised from the dead during his ministry in Earth, is in heaven now. None of them are still here.

There is a YES... and a NOT YET... in God's Kingdom. 

There are certainly demonstrations of God's power here, today. But as magnificent as those are, the ultimate fulfillment of His Power and Promises is Not Yet.

The Earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof... 

But in Genesis 1-2 we see that God leased this planet to mankind. Mankind broke it. And all the promises to fix it are future-tense. He's given us many demonstrations of his power and willingness to fix it, but the real fix is yet to come.

Have I gotten off track from "If Only"? 


If only... Comes from the fact we live in a broken world. 

In a broken world, things break.

We make decisions about where to live, what to eat, where to work... Those decisions have long lasting, sometimes life altering, ramifications.

We don't get "Do Overs".

We can learn, get more healing, make better choices, make new choices, take our new found perspective and craft a better future for our broken past.

What we cannot do, must not do, is second guess every decision.

Some decisions were dumb and you knew beforehand and you did it anyway. Repent, Receive Mercy, Grow, Move Forward.

Some decisions were dumb but seemed right (there is a way that seems right but the end thereof is death). Repent, Receive Grace, Grow, Move Forward. 

Some decisions were not wrong. You did everything right. But this broken world broke you. Either someone else's decisions broke you, or, some brokenness in this world, a natural disaster or disease broke you. Praise God for his interventions however incomplete they seam today, Receive Healing, Grow, Move Forward.

If only... Holds no real value.

Instead of asking or pondering "if only"... Ask or ponder, "what if"...

What if God could use this in my life to make me more like Him, soften my heart to other's suffering, carve out my strategic position of opportunity and influence in this world, and help me learn to weep with those who moarn as well as laugh with those who rejoice?

What COULD God do with this broken raw material? 

This shattered glass could become a stainglass masterpiece. If I let Him have it... 

 Daddy, God, I don't see the whole picture today. I'm in pain. It hurts so bad. But.. nevertheless, I give these broken shards to you. Use them as you see fit.

Let your "if only" become a "what if" today.



  1. Thank you. Really good and needed insight today as I face a new reality of being unemployed during a pandemic. Yet I am not worried necessarily about money, but about what the next steps look like. Im grieving the loss of what I thought was my dream job. Yet I trust that God, even in this, will bring about good fruit and His purpose as I surrender and trust Him.

  2. Jobs. I've held and lost many, real and opportunities. He's got you. Keep your eyes on Him.


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