When “What if” Comes Calling

It creeps unbidden into our conscience…the doubting whisper of “what if”.

It is the question when we stand before the crossroads, decisions about our future to ponder. We wonder, “what if”. Sometimes “what if” comes while we stare at the giant before us, in the form of fear. Fear of failure, of taking the wrong path, of not hearing God’s guidance clearly enough, missing the opportunity. What if we pray and still somehow miss what God has for us? What if we’re wrong? What if we get off the path He meant for us, inadvertently? Or, even worse, what if He leads us on a path that brings heart ache? What if, even as we hold our Father’s hand, we must walk through the valley?

This weekend, I read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. Throughout the amazing true story of this woman who courageously trusted the Lord as she worked to save hundreds of Jews and Christians from Nazi Germany, and later was arrested and spent time in a concentration camp, she displayed the kind of faith that only grows when we lie in the pit of despair, stripped of all the fragile answers we cling to and we realize that Jesus is all we need. We realize that He will meet us even there.

For as Corrie said, “in darkness God’s truth shines most clear”.

And, one of my favorites: “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”

These are the words Betsie, Corrie’s sister, tells her as she lays dying at the concentration camp…”We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here“.

This is why I bear my heart here. This is why we tell the stories of God’s grace and mothers crying out from pits of despair with empty arms…carried by a God whose love can find them, even in the darkest of pits. And, the reason others listen, is because we’ve walked there. That promise is not just words. We lived in the pit…we were carried…we felt the rescue of His arms, the only ones strong enough to comfort such brokenness.

Sometimes “what if” comes not about the future, but the past. What if we would have chosen this path? What if we chose this career? What if we said this, or didn’t say that? What if we dropped the ball? What if we would have arrived at the hospital 10 minutes sooner? All moms battle “what ifs” and guilt where their children are concerned. But, those who experience loss, are often gripped so tightly in the blinding deception of those doubts, as if  being the tiny, finite beings we are, we could hold such power to change destinies. We do not hold the power. We are but vapors. So small in the face of eternity. And, yet, our Father holds us, leading us, hearing our prayers. Even if we think they go answered…even when He leads us to the valley…even when what lays so heavily on our hearts is not the destiny He has prepared us for, even when He gives another answer…His plans are for good, a future and a hope. His promises are secure. (Jeremiah 29:11) It isn’t about the circumstance of our lives. Accidents don’t exist for God’s people, when we truly seek Him. He is faithful, and He keeps our prayers, our thoughts, even our tears.

Recently some well laid (we thought!)  plans for our son’s future were changed. A door closed on what had been laid so heavily on his heart, a desire for his future that had been covered in countless prayers from all who loved him, and most relentlessly from my mama-heart. All the sacrifices and determination, all the tiny details that transpired to bring him to this closed door, stood before us, whispering “what if”.

Corrie’s words answered the question most firmly, and I plan to revisit them the next time the “what-ifs” come calling:

“There are no ‘ifs’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety.”

It’s less important where we spend our days, or the direction we’re called to walk, and even some of the life choices we make, as it is Who we are following. If we’re following the Lord, seeking His wisdom…His will, we remain secure. He is faithful to lead us, despite all that we see with our eyes. Remember, the words quoted throughout this post came from Corrie Ten Boom, a woman who never married, watched the love of her life marry someone else, risked her own life to save the lives of God’s people, and spent time in a place so dark and full of inhumanity and suffering…the closest place to hell on earth the world has ever known…and yet, she says there are no “ifs” in God’s world. She says His truth shines brightest in darkness. She says our safety is not dependent on where we are…for our God can find us, and keep us safe, even in the darkest pit. She says it, after living it. So, I believe her. Not only because she has lived it, but because I have lived His unspeakable grace as well. And, He has always proven faithful.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.  ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

Comments

  1. My eyes filled with tears once again, even after talking about this subject a few hours ago over the phone. I will never forget how I felt after loosing Isaiah……which really helps me reach out to the ladies who are hurting with fresh wounds of hurt and despair.

  2. oh yes. oh yes. this is exactly why i share my story. and also these are exactly the words i needed today. thank you. love that book…i think i need to reread it!

    • I can’t believe how much encouragement and truth I found in that book!! There are so many nuggets in there. I think …well, I know, we get some of the most precious nuggets in the darkest of valleys, as proved by the beauty found in Corrie’s words. The beauty that comes from clinging to Him as we’re carried. So grateful for the scheduled power outtage on Sunday that led me to read the book from cover to cover. <3 Glad the Lord spoke to your heart through these ramblings as well. Love how He does that.

  3. “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” That is so good! Thank you for all that you do for the hearts of those hurting.
    Cathie
    walkinginhisplan.blogspot.com

  4. Kelly, This is so good… God is continuing to walk me through this grief even though it has been only 3 short months since losing Abraham.
    I just finished Misty by Carole Gift Page
    God showed me three things in the last 2 pages of the book… (these were taken from the book, but they are applying directly to me)
    *I’m learning that it isn’t the events of my life that matter, but my relationship with Christ through those events that spells joy or despair.
    *I have seen my Lord in a way I never could have known outside of grief.
    * Christ doesn’t waste any of our experiences. If we let Him, He turns even our heartaches to gold; He tempers us, makes us strong through our sorrows and disappointments.

    Thanks for sharing, I smile when I see a blog in my inbox! I know it is a way God is using the ministry to help me specifically.
    Becky

  5. Truly, God’s love will never leave us. Even in the deepest pits of life He is there!!! Thankful that He is faithful!!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] And, second, because the truth is…we aren’t meant to carry this heaven burden. Jesus wants us to be free. To experience joy. To laugh and live…even in the midst of this sorrow. Life is, as my friend Angie Smith often says, a sacred dance of grief and joy. It is. And, it’s ok to laugh. Your child is laughing in heaven, and living and well. Better than you are, actually! It’s ok to live, mama. In fact, live the best possible life you can. Nothing would honor your child more. I have carried the guilt. I have felt the heavy yoke. I have been weighted heavy with the albatross of guilt and fear and what-if. [...]

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