DayBreaks for 01/04/12 – Life’s What If’s
I don’t know about you, but I play the game of “What If” like a pro! I am so prone to trying to figure out the future, to plot a course through all the eventualities in order to guarantee an outcome that I’m sure to be happy with. What a fool I am! Here’s a story about a little boy who was learning to play that game early:
Erma Bombeck told this story about a little boy named Donald who talked about education and the fears of going to school: “My name is Donald, and I don’t know anything. I have new underwear, a loose tooth, and didn’t sleep last night because I’m worried. What if a bell rings and a man yells, “Where do you belong?” and I don’t know? What if the trays in the cafeteria are too tall for me to reach? What if my loose tooth comes out when we have our heads down and are supposed to be quiet? Am I supposed to bleed quietly? What if I splash water on my name tag and my name disappears and no one knows who I am?”
Does Scripture have anything to say about playing “What If”? I think so – sometimes in unexpected ways. We are told not to take thought for tomorrow for a very logical reason: today has enough problems of its own, and who knows if we’ll be here tomorrow or not! But our most common fears aren’t about whether or not we’ll be here tomorrow, but about what might happen. We tend to assume we will be here.
There’s another passage that, when viewed in a certain way, is about the “what if’s” that we are more prone to worry over: Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:35-39
The list of “what if’s” includes trouble, calamity, persecution, hunger, being destitute, in danger, even threatened with violent death. None of those “what if’s” can separate us from His love or cause us to get lost to His sight. Demonic attack, fears for today, worries about tomorrow, not hell itself, says the writer, can separate us from His incredible, enduring, powerful, saving love!
PRAYER: Jesus, I sometimes get so scared about what will happen tomorrow, next week, next month. Though I may be separated from a home, family members, from all the things I love and cherish – help me find comfort in Your abiding Presence and promise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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