Everyone has thought of a “what if” moment before. You know, what if I had done something different in my life? What if I had not said that stupid thing that my friends overheard? What if I had completed my graduate degree before getting married? What if I had not bought a house right before getting married? What if I had not changed jobs? What if I had children earlier in life? What if…?
In Janis Joplin’s song “Bobby McGee” she says that she would “trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday.” What if…? What if you could go back and change one of your “what if” moments? Growing up I used to think about that very scenario. As a child, I wanted desperately to change the past. I wanted to go back and say the right words that would have convinced my father to not commit suicide. But as I grew older and became a Christian, I began to realize what I would have to trade in order for this scenario to come true. I would have to give up my baby brother, who was born four years after my father’s death. Would I give him up? Could I give him up? It was then that I began to understand the “Butterfly Effect” of life. In order to change one scenario, you cannot have the present stay the same.
Today, as I was rocking my sweet little girl to sleep, I thought to myself “what if?” Here I am, in my 30s, married, with a 9 month old daughter, a missionary in language school, soon to be in Africa. But what if…? And it was then I realized I don’t really want to know. I cannot possibly imagine a life without my soul mate, the man of my dreams who completes me as a person. I would never want to picture my life without my precious baby. I don’t think I would be the same person I am today without the things that have happened to me in the past, in the order they happened, both good and bad. Many times we have curious thoughts, thinking “what if?” But you know what? I no longer care about “what if” because I am content where I am.
In class the other day, we read Psalms 139 (in French) and talked about why it was important to us (in French). Although my lack of knowledge of the right words (in French) might have prevented me from truly expressing myself, I still managed to get my point across: This verse helped me when I was pregnant by knowing that even if the baby was not to be, God had a plan.
God made us, He knows us, nothing is hidden from him, we cannot depart from his presence, and as impure and imperfect as we are, we can always delight in Him when we follow His will. Why spend time wondering what could have been, when instead we can praise God for what could be!
139 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
…. For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.