Friday, May 14, 2010

If is an illusion.

I go far enough back to remember Ed Ames singing “I Don’t Believe In If Any More.” I ran across the lyrics not long ago. The chorus ends with: “If is for children building daydreams.”

My favorite line is:

If I knew then what I know now
(I thought I did you know somehow)
If I could have the time again

That’s a game that can be played often enough to drive us crazy, and drive us away from the Lord. It often happens to new Christians, who regret not having followed the Lord earlier in their lives.

“If I had …” Done what? What could have been done to change the situation today? First and foremost, it doesn’t matter except as a point of topic when witnessing to another, and “if” doesn’t belong in the situation.

How much better is it to tell the actuality of what happened, how Christ changed our lives once we turned them over to Him, than to tell what might have happened if we had done it earlier? How much better is it to tell what Christ has done in our lives than to tell what might happen if they give their lives to Him?

Suppose a child grows up to turn their back on what has been taught – how much time can be wasted on how many ifs: If I had spent more time with them in prayer; If I had taken them to church more often; If I had read the Bible with them; If ….. There is no end to the possibilities.

All of life’s disasters leave an insurmountable mountain of ifs to be sifted through. Divorce brings an entirely new set of ifs. The death of a child has a devastating set of ifs.

All of the above have been ifs in the past. We know they didn’t happen nor can we go back and change them. We may learn the consequences of actions, or the lack of action, and use that example, but we will never return to the point where an if could matter.

Ifs in the future are dependent upon the unknown. “If (x) happens, I will …” and we never know whether or not (x) will happen. Spending times with the ifs, past, present or future, is a waste.

There is no need to spend another moment with them. God has plans within His will for each and every one of us. We have the opportunity to choose to do them, or not. We’ve been told what will happen should we refuse.

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? [Esther 4:14 KJV]

There is the answer for any if when it comes to God’s planning. Deliverance would come from another place. And destruction was part of the consequence.

Bottom line – playing if situations over and over takes away from God. It not only takes our time away from Him, it takes our thoughts, our actions and our prayers. There is no glory for Him when we spend time saying, or singing:

If only. Lord, if only

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