This year our family has faced an extraordinary amount of obvious need. We are constantly looking at the day, the week, the month, wondering how we will do what we need to do, get what we need to get, and learn what we need to learn. And over and over we see the Lord provide. Have we come up against any of these needs and found them to be un-met? Never. That provision doesn’t always look like we expect or want it to, but it is always there and always “in time.” I think of Gandalf saying, “A wizard is never late. He always arrives precisely when he means to.” I may have my own ideas of when I think something should be provided – like the second I realize I have a need for it – but God has His own purposes to accomplish and He always shows up precisely when He means to.
Yet in spite of this incredible track record, I find myself all in a dither with every realization of need and every concern that arises.
I have never, not even once in my life, worried that the sun would not rise the next day.
Yet I daily live as though God’s faithfulness is uncertain. As though tomorrow He might forget me for the first time ever. As though this world is just getting too crazy for Him to manage and He might get behind on my docket.
My mind is easily consumed with “what ifs.” What if someone doesn’t buy my mom’s house fast? What if I can’t figure out what to do with her time shares? What if this health concern turns out to be something serious? What if I neglect an important aspect of raising my children because I’m so overwhelmed with the daily necessities? What if we can’t get visas to go back overseas?
Essentially, I meditate on my need instead of my Provider. I meditate on my fear instead of my Savior. I know better than to entertain those “what if” fears, but they are a persistent enemy and tough to fight off. I often try lecturing myself, but I’m not a very good lecturer, apparently, because those lofty sermons fall flat in my soul.
Today was a really tough day in this regard, and I found myself fighting back in a new way that worked a lot better than my hyperventilated, self-directed sermons. I began challenging those what-if fears with a different set of what-ifs.
What if there is a God who created this whole universe and sustains every atom by His power and constant care? What if this God is completely in control of every detail of every life and what if He governs all with complete love? What if He cares for me personally and has good plans for me? What if He loves my children more than I do and wants their best even more than my mother heart does? What if He has designed life such that His greatest glory is our greatest good? What if He has promised that He wins in the end?
What if He has already won?
What if I am completely assured that all will be made right, restored, and redeemed? What if this painful and difficult life is just an infinitesimal blip in the timeline of eternity and the rest if filled with peace and joy? What if sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning?
And of course the joy of this line of thinking is that these things are not merely “what ifs.” They are a firm certainty that underlies and outlasts all the fearful "what ifs" that haunt me. What if we can’t sell my mom’s house quickly? What if that health concern turns out to be something serious? Well….? It doesn’t put a dent in the assurance of God’s sovereign love in my life or His faithfulness to provide for our needs and redeem our pain or His promise of the joy that comes in the morning.