Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Other "If"

Yesterday we examined what it looks like to have your life revolve around the "if only's" of life.

But "if only" has an equally misbehaving twin. It is another "if" that also threatens to pull you down, keep you from running on your path, and paralyze you on the spot. "What if...?" It is the element of fear. "What if_______?" (Again, fill in the blank). "What if I never get married? What if I can't have kids? What if God sends me to _____, or keeps me in ________? What if I lose my job? What if my car gives out? What if I can't think of the answer? Or get cancer?" Again, the list goes on and on. At times, these fears seem like impatient preschool children lined up on my side of the bed just waiting for me to open one eye. Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, MOM!!! What if, what if, what if, and THEN, what if? The end of the world as we know it, I imagine.

Again, this problem can be readily traced back to the beginning of time, actually back to the Fall. We live in a fallen world. It is out of balance, wrong side up. And we should be aware that we wear an enormous bulls-eye. When the serpent can't tempt us (if only...?), he makes us fear him and fear the unknown (what if...?). The tree of the knowledge of good and evil made us all too aware of evil and our vulnerability to it. The fruit was not sweet after all.

What does God have to say about fear? "Fear not, I am your shield" (Genesis 15.1), "Fear not, stand firm..." (Exodus 14.13), "Fear not, but let your hands be strong" (Zechariah 8.13), "Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My victorious right hand" (Isaiah 41.10) Just look up FEAR in your Bible's concordance, and be amazed at how God strengthened His people throughout the ages, even those who were the great leaders of the faith. Even us today.

And as you peruse these verses and grasp hold of them, note that God is not saying, "Come on, now, you can do it, believe in yourself." Not at all. In EVERY example, God is revealing His own power. That is the difference between positive thinking and the reality of the presence of God. The "unknown" is, after all, known to Him. ("Even the darkness is not dark to You." Psalm 139.12) He is doing a work in your life that is beyond what you could ever ask or think. (Ephesians 3.20, Habakkuk 1.5)

Everyone has a worldview, a lens through which they view the world. To believe in the presence of God and His strength is not just a "good way of looking at things." It is Biblical worldview which emanates from reality, the core of who God is and who we are in Him. It is not a positive perspective on life. It is Biblical worldview, and it pervades EVERYTHING in your life. Not just how you look at life, but how you live.

What do others see in you? Grumbling and fear? Or the reality of God?
"For I will be to her a wall of fire round about, says the LORD, and I will be the glory within her." (Zechariah 2.5)

Press on!

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