Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 – The Fifth Thursday in Lent
What are the biggest What if’s? you have inside you? Do you ever think this way, by looking at a known problem or situation and asking the question?
“What if she didn’t mean it that way? What if it doesn’t turn out the way I had imagined? What if he doesn’t get better? What if my efforts go unnoticed or unrewarded or both? What if nothing different happens? What if I don’t get in? What if…?” Finish that sentence in whatever way applies to you.
I have my own list of What if’s? They tend to stay buried pretty far down. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to know them. Or face them. Maybe it’s because I am scared or lazy or overthink or lack the wisdom to play things out in my head because I don’t like not knowing where things will end. Or maybe I recognize that there is nothing I can do about them anyway and I need to let go of what might happen. Just. Let. Go.
Mostly though, my What if’s? are not a daily thought because I believe that God’s Will, in the end, shall be done. I come daily to the realization that all of this going on around me will go on, in some form, without me. I know that things would be different in some way important to God (and to me!) if I were not here to play my part, but I have no illusions. My part is small and, on my best days, I am a happy and willing instrument of a Divine purpose.
In short, I do think that things ‘are gonna be alright.’ Ultimately, that is. In a way that I cannot now see. In the same way we walk by faith, not by sight. The best things, we’re taught by Scripture, we cannot see with our eyes. We can only see them through the ‘eyes’ of our heart, by feeling them in our bones, by ‘knowing’ when we cannot explain or define the knowing.
Occasionally, relying on what I describe above seems a little irresponsible, like I’ve misplaced my critical thinking skills. Most days, it feels like I am putting my life and every outcome into God’s hands. I often think of the Biblical character Joseph, he of Technicolor Dreamcoat fame. After his brothers have been jealous, self-centered, and duplicitous and their father, Jacob, has died, the brothers are sure that Joseph, who certainly has the power, is going to order their deaths. Joseph’s reply is that what they intended for evil, God intended for good. In that moment, God is speaking directly through Joseph, announcing at the end of the Genesis cycle that God will make everything all right and invite anyone to join and experience God doing what only God can do.
I don’t think What if? is a bad question or a waste of time. I just need to remember to put that question, and all questions, in the context of a God who will do what is best. For people. For creation. Forever.
The waiting is where my trust, my faith, comes in. Some days, that needs shoring up. I’m convinced God can handle that task, too. Even if I forget to ask.
All shall be well,
And all shall be well,
And all manner of thing shall be well.
– Julian of Norwich
Questions for the day: What is underneath my What if’s? If I don’t know, what would it look like if I did?
– Christopher Powell