Do you ever think of a ‘what if’ scenario and play it out in your head? The whole chain of events that would follow?
I do. I think through how I would react in any given situation and how to do it most efficiently. And, these ‘what ifs’ of mine are not lovely events. I wish I could say it went something like, “What if I won a million dollars?” Or, “What if a shower of season-appropriate, in my size, Banana Republic clothes fell out of the sky?”
Nope. Not the kind of stuff I think on. I go for the run-of-the-mill disaster scenarios. “What if my girl gets in an accident while she’s out riding her bike?” And, “What if my husband dies?”. Or, “What if there is a terrorist attack too close to home?” It doesn’t take a genius to know that these things could happen. They do happen. Also, I’m pretty sure we all have these thoughts and others like them.
I would guess that just about everyone goes there sometimes. So what’s the big deal? My problem is in the dwelling. Thinking through the scenario in great detail. Making plans for what is not and maybe never will be. I’m no Girl Scout, but I do like to be prepared…just to an extreme. Bad stuff happens every day. But, the bad stuff shouldn’t be the focus. Shouldn’t command so much of our attention.
My Grandpa J. taught me to look far down the road when driving, instead of at the road directly in front of the bumper. When we look out ahead we’re looking at a larger view and we can better stay on course. We’re not ignoring the road right ahead of us, we’re just taking in a bigger picture. Our view still includes the foreground, it just won’t be our focus.
The same is true in life:
If we look at the ugly situation right in front of us vs. the Big Picture, we can’t very well stay our course.
As a follower of Jesus, my Big Picture focus is Him. I trust He is in control of it all. I trust that everything He does is for His glory and my good. When the ‘what ifs’ pop up–take those thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), give thanks and ask for protection (Philippians 4:6), and think about something else (Philippians 4:8).
Maybe it’s like we’re in training. If we, with the help of the Holy Spirit, can train our minds, He will become our go-to when the ‘what ifs’ strike. When something bad does happen, hopefully, we will be ready to turn to Him first. Yes, we will still feel in that situation–anger, grief, depression… Yet, maybe we can stay on our course of living a life that glorifies Him and is eternally-minded.
Jesus wants us to bring all our cares to Him. Talk to Him. Tell Him your worries. Acknowledge Him as the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present, loving Father He is. Let’s try to lean on Him in this. Trusting Him in all situations, real or imagined.