Sometimes the night can be cruel. As I write this, I am laying in bed and everything is silent. Silence can be exhausting sometimes. The steady drone of the heater running as fast as my thoughts in this darkened room. My husband snoring beside me, the steady rhythm of his breathing usually brings me comfort. But not tonight.
Tonight the what-ifs have consumed me.
Do you ever struggle with those pesky what-ifs? They creep up on you sometimes. The what-ifs that come and steal your contentment. The what-ifs that rob you of your peace.
Tonight I’m flooded with these what-ifs. Generally, I try to sail through life with a positive attitude, even though things are hard in my life. But the what-ifs tamper with that and taunt me as I toss and turn, restless and without sleep.
What if I die before my kids are grown?
What if my kids will never be able to be independent?
What if I end up in a wheelchair before I’m 40?
What if my kids never get married and find happiness?
Again, what if I die before my kids are grown?
And then the hardest what-if, the one that prematurely breaks my heart and causes me the most stress…
What if my husband dies and we have no one to love and care for us?
That is the worst of all the what-ifs because my husband is rock solid. I understand he is not THE rock. But he is a rock. Or maybe a rock star. The truth of it is, we all depend on him. God knew how great our needs would be and all those years ago he sent me Stephen. And I can’t even begin to comprehend what life would be like without him. It’s my greatest what-if.
My heart is burdened by all these what-ifs. And in the dark of night I often forget that He is faithful. Didn’t I just say He provided me with a gracious, gentle and providing husband? He knew my needs before I did. And He arranged for them to be taken care of by giving me a husband whose love covers even helping me put on my socks and shave my legs. How much more will He provide when I ask?
Do not worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Ask God for what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
There’s a reason why this is my life verse. Because I need this constant reminder. I need to remember to be truly thankful for His blessings. I need to remember to worry less and ask Him more often. I don’t know why this is so hard for me to do. After all, He loves to take care of me.
That is why I tell you not to worry about every day life – whether you have enough food and drink, or clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Any why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown in the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?So don’t worry about these things, saying, “What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?” These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers , but your heavenly Father already knows your needs. Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:25-34
This afternoon as I walked past the park on my way to pick up my son from school, I was distracted by two ducks. They were splashing and swimming in a pool of melted snow. Melted snow that just so happened to have collected in the kids wading pool. The ducks were happily bathing and playing in this water like it was there just for them. But then, maybe it was. God provides food for the birds, but He also provides a place for them to rest and play. If he cares about these little ducks enough to give them a special place to play in the spring melt, how much more does He care about me?
He cares about the things that worry me. But here’s the thing. He provides for my needs, no matter what they may be. As I was watching the ducks in the pond, a peace settled over my heart. At the time, I wasn’t sure why but now I know. As the what-ifs creep in during the night, I can claim that peace and let it settle over my heart again. Because if He tends to the ducks in the spring, He will tend to my needs if the what-ifs become reality. God has a plan for my what-ifs. And He has a plan for yours, too.
It is hard to wrap our minds around the truth that we don’t need to worry. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a worrier. I worry about the small every day things. I worry about the big, scary and important things. Sometimes I worry so much I make myself sick. I’m constantly forgetting this passage of scripture. But He lovingly reminds me by sending me ducks in a wading pool.
So even when the what-ifs become a reality, my loving God will carry me through. He is the One who can transform the what-ifs to when-it’s. Instead of worrying what-if this happens, I can rest in knowing when it’s happening He will be guiding my steps, caring for my needs and holding my heart in His loving hands. And He will be doing that for you too.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received has brought about your adoption into sonship. Romans 8:15 .
We have a loving Father. He loves to care for us and provide for our needs. Just like we may have trusted our earthly father or father figures to care for our needs, we can trust our heavenly Father even more.
We don’t need to fear for our future. We don’t need to worry about the looming what-ifs that creep up in the night. We can rest in knowing that we are perfectly loved by a God who knows our needs before we do and who has a plan for our lives, no matter what painful what-ifs we may live through.
Sleep comes easier when you rest in Jesus. The next time those what-ifs creep up and steal your peace, remember the when-it’s. And sleep well, knowing that you are loved and cared for. Because even if the worst happens, He can resurrect the good from every situation.
6 thoughts on “The What-Ifs”
Thank you for sharing. This was awesome! I have had several nights recently where the “what if’s” have grabbed me and caused panic attacks and have stolen sleep. I fight back by telling the “What ifs” that the God who spoke the universe into creation, loves me and is caring for me.” Not sure what it is about night time that makes the “What ifs” harder to fight. I loved the thought that even if the “What ifs” happen that God is still in control and he will work it for good. Romans 8:28. Next time I am awake at night, I will say a prayer for you.
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Reading and knowing God’s Word are so important so we can fight the fear and doubt of what-ifs. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for this great post. I actually was afraid of the dark until recently (we’re talking big time fear!) so sleep was not my best time. When I started back to getting closer to God and learning that there is nothing to be afraid of, I’m slowly getting more confidence when sleeping, which is when my what-ifs would always rear their ugly heads too.
This is a great post! I’ve come to realize that almost all of our “what ifs” never even happen. Anxiety isn’t easy to overcome, but God is faithful. We just need to keep our eyes on Him.
Thank you for this reminder! I’m typically not a worrier, but lately the “what-if’s” have been lurking in my mind all of the time. Love that passage from Matthew!
Great verses. I love both of them. I often pray through Philippians 4:6-7 when I am anxious.