If you are in the land of the living, from time to time you are going to face challenges. At times they are few and far between, for other times it’s like an avalanche of problems overtake us. I began thinking about several years ago when I lived in Dallas and was going through a very difficult time financially. For awhile I allowed worry and fear to grip most of my waking hours. I kept thinking that I may become homeless and lose everything I had. Then I began to play the “what if” game.
I first asked myself, what if I can’t find a job? Well, if I can’t find a job, I won’t have any money.
Well, what will happen if I don’t have any money? If I don’t have any money I can’t pay my house payment.
Well, what will happen if I can’t pay my house payment? If I don’t pay my mortgage I’m going to lose my house.
Well, what will happen if I lose my house? Well if I lose my house, I will find a homeless shelter for women and live there until I get myself together. Or, I could move back to Sacramento and live with my mom. Or move to San Diego and stay with my dad.
After I went through the whole scenario with the “what if” game, I felt a sense of relief. Of course, I didn’t want to lose my house, live in a homeless shelter, or stay with my parents, but if I did, I could find peace in that.
Fortunately, none of these things happened and God saw me through, but what if they did happen? Could I still trust in God even through the valley?
As I pondered this question, God brought to my mind to the story of Abraham in Genesis 22 as he trekked up the mountain to offer Isaac, his only son, as a sacrifice to God. I imagine that when God first told Abraham that he had to kill his own son, he had a difficult time grasping that. “Why would God ask to me give up something I love and cherish so dearly?” He probably contemplated.
Whether we’re in the position of losing a home, a relationship, a job, an attitude, or anything else we esteem, do you think that God also pushes us to the limits, just like he did Abraham? Do you think that God tests us with outrageous circumstances to see whether we will continue to trust in god and trek up that mountain of sacrifice? Absolutely!
But just as Abraham was raising his knife to do the unthinkable, God stepped in and saved the day. Right there in the bushes God provided a ram for the sacrifice and Isaac was spared. Praise God!
A few moments later God told Abraham, now I know that you trust me with all your heart, because you would not even spare your only son from me. In other words, Abraham, you trusted me to the very end and through the unthinkable.
We hold on so desperately to things in this life, so much so that we are in bondage to them and we fear losing them more than we esteem our relationship with God. Abraham reasoned that if God allowed me to kill my son, the son he blessed me with, he also had the power to raise him up again. Abraham played the “what if” game too.
For me, the scenario might read, if God allowed me to lose this job, He has a better one for me. Or if I lose this house, he’ll give me another one. Or if God allowed the enemy to steal my mate, He has a new plan and purpose for my life. Since all things are working together for our highest good, then it’s difficult to label what events in our life are good or bad. Sometimes the best blessings come out of adversity. Sometimes God has to get us out of one circumstance to bless us with a better one and since we often don’t go willingly, he takes desperate steps to get us there, like taking something that challenges our false security.
For example, if I had never suffered from depression, I would probably not have started Christian Meditation and Relaxation, and thousands of people would not have been blessed by this ministry. I guess God just had a bigger picture.
No one wants to suffer, especially me, but the more we can surrender it all to God, the more peace and joy we’re going to have. In fact, if we can let go of it freely and follow God down those paths of uncertainty, just maybe we will find that ram in the bush to save our day. Yet even in the surrender we never give up. We never stop trusting God to do a miracle. We never stop speaking the word of God over our circumstances and we never lose our faith. We continue to play the “what if” game to our favor and advantage.
And in the back of our minds, as we contemplate the “what ifs” we should also factor in, that maybe, just maybe, it’s just a test, a test to see, “How Far will You Trust Me!”
Just another way to think about it.