Over the last couple of months, I have found myself saying “what if” a lot. I’ll be talking to my husband, or chatting with a friend and the question “what if” followed by some anxiety inducing statement comes out of my mouth, and I’m left with this feeling of dread in my heart. I have had to drastically limit the amount of news that I watch and even cut way back on social media because it looks like I’m not the only one who has been wrestling with “what if?”
I was running in our neighborhood a few weeks ago and once again, processing all of my “what if’s” in my mind. As I let my mind dwell on worst case scenarios, I felt the familiar, cold fingers of anxiety tighten around my heart. I cried out to the Lord, “Please, give me peace!” The Lord spoke to my heart. Stop saying ‘what if.’ That was all.
I thought about that for several days. What does it look like to just stop asking “what if?” I think it looks like trust. It is easy to believe in the Sovereignty of God when it is just a word in a theology textbook. It is a lot harder when I am asked to lift it off the page and let that belief permeate my life and settle my heart. I am very good at quoting Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” Apparently, I am not so good at living it.
As I brought these things before the Lord, He began to ask me to meditate on what is, not on what if. I began to think through some of the things that are guaranteed. Things that are promised to us as believers.
A couple weeks ago, I got the chance to process through this with a group of friends. We made a list of all our “what ifs.” We wrote down the things that weigh on our hearts. I will just share some of mine. A few of them were: What if my girls with asthma get COVID? What if we go on lockdown again? What if those in charge try to close down the church? What if we lose our jobs? What if the incoming government makes it a crime to faithfully preach the Bible as it is written?
After we wrote out our “what ifs,” we made another list of “what is.” Here are some of the things that we have been promised as believers and that will not change. “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” We will always have Jesus. Always. He never leaves. He is with us always. Jesus never changes. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Our culture changes. Its leadership changes. Its values change. Jesus does not. He remains steadfast, a Rock that will not move. Another thing we are guaranteed is that we will always have eachother. We are promised that we will always have other believers. Did you know that it is literally impossible to shut down the church? Governments can only close down buildings. Not churches, because churches are people. Jesus said in Matthew 16 that He would build His church and “the gates of Hell would not prevail against it.” When Jesus returns at the end, guess who will be waiting there to meet Him? The Church. She will still be here, and she will be radiant and holy as she receives the Bridegroom.
Another thing we are promised is a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Hebrews 12 encourages us and says that in spite of what we are going through, “lift up your drooping hands, and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight the paths for your feet…” Why? Because we are “receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” Kingdoms are shaking right now. Nations are in an uproar. God is on His throne.
When I talked through these things with my friends a couple of weeks ago, we ended by reading some passages together that keep our hearts anchored in times like these. I want to share them with you in case you would like to read through them too. They are Psalm 11, Psalm 46, Psalm 91 and Isaiah 8-9.
God’s promises to us are not just inspirational quotes. They aren’t just encouraging words. They are solid, and they hold throughout every storm. When our world is falling apart, His promises anchor us and give us “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.” His promises to us can bear the weight of our lives. We can step out onto them and they will hold. They hold, not because we are faithful, but because He is. He is faithful. That is what is. And that is very good news.
*My blogs are written with the assumption that they are being read primarily by Christians. If you want to know more about what it means to be a Christian or about the gospel of Jesus Christ, click the link here: The Gospel