What If


I woke up early one morning and couldn’t go back to sleep; one of those mornings when things run through your mind like a racehorse. My mind was racing with issues with families, preparing for a funeral, and getting my weekly thoughts out. Sometimes I wake up and am concerned about something I said or did. I had a meeting one night on my mind, concerned that maybe I said something too strong and perhaps a little concerned about “did I view things correctly in the eyes of God.”

It was then that I thought that maybe I live too much in the land of “What if’s.”

I opened the word of God and saw:

  • Abraham discussing two cities with God and saying – “What if there are 50 righteous…What if there are 45…What if there are 40…30…20…10 (NIV)
  • Moses standing before the bush and saying – “What if they don’t believe me?” (NIV)
  • The teacher of the law concerning Paul – “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” (NIV)
  • Proverbs – What if the roof falls in, and your whole life goes to pieces? What if catastrophe strikes and there’s nothing to show for your life but rubble and ashes? (MSG)

I think we may often let our “What if’s” keep us from doing things we should. We need to have concerns and plan for some things, just in case they come about, but avoid letting the “What if’s” creep into how we live. There are “What if,” statements that remind us of how things would have been if God had not stepped in. But if we dwell on the negative “What if’s” in life, it shows our lack of trust and faith in God. At some point, we need to learn to allow God to take control. If we spend our lives dwelling on the “What if’s,” we find ourselves going into depression and not moving forward.

  • What if the COVID-19 continues for months?
  • What if I catch the virus?
  • What if I lose my job or my salary gets cut?
  • What if someone in my family gets seriously ill?
  • What if someone is offended by what I say?
  • What if a thief comes into my house and steals my belongings?
  • What if my choice isn’t elected president?
  • What if… What if… What if…

There’s another phrase I found in the Bible besides the “What if” statement. I like it much more. It’s the “If you” statements…

  • 1John 2:29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. (NIV)
  • 1Peter 3:13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? (NIV)
  • 1Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” (NIV)
  • 1Peter 4:14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (NIV)
  • 1Peter 4:16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. (NIV)
  • 1Timothy 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (NIV)

Philippians 2:1-5 “ If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Paul later tells the Philippians to look at life and people through different eyes. Instead of dwelling on the troubling things of life and the faults of people we should be searching for something different. Instead of filling ourselves with the “What if’s,” our minds should focus on the good things in life and people. Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (NIV)

Living in a world of “What if’s” creates an unfriendly world in our lives. Those who settle on the “What if’s” become depressed and unhappy with life. For those who rely on the “If you,” life shows a different picture. God has always promised us that he would be with us if we put our trust and confidence in Him. The answer to all the “What if’s” that you may ask of God can only be found “if you” look to God for the answers.

Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ

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