HOW TO HANDLE THE WHAT IF’S
The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. Genesis 23:5-7
By nature, I have been a fearful person, a chronic worrier. So was my father. So was his mother. I can remember visiting my grandmother often as a kid and seeing her wring her hands with a far off look in her eyes. Asking the ‘what if’s’ has been a spiritual family trait. Fighting for faith instead of fear is hard work, especially because each ‘what if’ seems so logical. If it didn’t seem feasible, worry wouldn’t be present.
Abraham models how to handle the uncertainties of the future. He’s about to send Eleazar on a long journey. He wants him to visit the land of Ur, his home country, to secure a wife for Isaac from the Jewish line. But Eleazar sees one huge obstacle. ‘What if’ the potential bride refuses to return with him? What then?
Abraham won’t go there. He won’t even consider it. His response is that God will go before him and make all things possible. His trust that God will protect His line of descendants is rock solid. He had a string of miracles to prove it.
A close friend of mine is eight years older than I am. She models this kind of faith well and I’m amazed by it. I know her life and it isn’t easy at all. She has been the recipient of grim news many times throughout the time we’ve been friends. The ‘what if’s’ could have eaten her alive but I’ve never seen it happen. She’s trusted God, prayed about everything, and to this day, lives in peace.
No wonder scripture begs us to take every thought captive. Reign it in. Don’t feed it. Not only can I think of many ‘what if’s’ but so can my enemy. He’s right there to feed the likelihood of dismal outcomes. But God….ah, there’s the cure.
I can worry about the future as if You won’t be in it. Not only do You promise to be there, but You are preparing my way there. Let this slow the beating of my heart. Amen
Journal Question: What is your biggest ‘what if’ today? Can you put it in God’s hands, knowing He has already taken every step between now and then? You just might sense him throwing your ‘what if’ into the abyss and calling it irrelevant.