Monday, November 23, 2015

A bad case of the "what if's"

My busy day commenced at 5:14 a.m. in the pre-dawn darkness, full of preparations for the coming holiday and even including a short hike in the woods on a chilly afternoon, the sunlight waning through the canopy of skeletal trees.

So, when I finally climbed into bed, I expected a quick drift into slumberland.

But not so.

A noisy and unruly crowd of "what if's" lined up on my side of the bed.  I turned my back to those aggravating thoughts and loose ends and scary monsters crawling out from the dust ruffle.  And I lay there, listening to my husband's measured breathing.  I was not able to sleep.

I had a bad case of "what if's, triggered by what I had yet to do, don't forget to stop the mail, bring your gloves, what shoes would be best for walking, and do I really need that coat.  Those thoughts were egged on and sustained by getting a subway pass and traveling from the airport to the city with two toddlers, a stroller and suitcases.  And finally, I also added to the fray those things totally outside of my control and fear that has been broadcast daily on the media of what is going on in the world...and what could happen. My imagination is never more awake than in the middle of the night.

And I thought of the childhood song, "Five little monkeys jumping on the bed."  It was too crowded to even turn over.

When we have a project before us, or a situation we are working on, or a problem to be unraveled, it is accompanied by a surge of energy that God supplies to carry us through.  But God never meant that provision to be used for anxiety.  When we feel that surge coming on, we all too often identify it as anxiety, when all along, God means us to recognize it as His strength to go forth.

When that surge of energy comes, instead of complying to a default of stress and fear, instead of investing in anxiety for which there is no end, instead of setting up my tent in the miry bog of despair....what if?

What if I trusted God with that energy instead?  What if I trusted God instead of that phantom of anxiety?  What if I trusted God that much?  

What if, instead, I focused my thoughts on His faithfulness, staking my life on God to bring me through and dwelling on a peace provided by the Almighty God, no matter what is going on.

In God's kingdom, "what if" is not based on fear,
but the "what if"
         of His extravagant goodness,
not the impossibilities,
          not even on possibilities,
but the reality of His Presence.

Now to Him
who by the power at work within us
                     is able
to do far more abundantly
than all that we ask or imagine...

                     Ephesians 3. 20

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