If Only. Have you ever lived there? I have.
If only…I had gone to college. …I hadn’t done that. I had done that. I hadn’t gotten married. I had gotten married. I had married someone different. I had more kids. I had less kids. I had kids. I had moved. I had stayed. I hadn’t gone through that. I had a different family. I would’ve known.
Do any of those look familiar to you? Maybe not. Maybe your “if only” is different from those. The problem with “if only” is, well, it didn’t. It didn’t happen that way. You didn’t make that decision or move or change or stay. Or you did make that decision or move or change or stay. Either way, it is what it is. You can’t change it now because it’s done. The old adage, “Don’t cry over spilled milk” is amazingly spot on.
But, God. God not only lets bygones be “okay”…He uses them.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” NASB. Psalm 37:23 says, “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.“ NLT. In Proverbs 16:9, we read, “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” NASB. And Proverbs 3:5,6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.“ NASB. When I look at all these, I have to believe that the Lord knew what path I would take and has planned my next steps accordingly. My “if only” was well accounted for and where I am right now is no accident.
So, what now? What’s the next step? First, I think, make peace with your past. Quit living in the “if only”s and accept what is now. Use it for a lesson, good or bad, and move on. Then, listen for God. Isaiah 30:21 says, “Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” I believe God will meet you in your “if only”s and turn even the bad ones into stepping stones to help move you to His purpose for your life. Trust Him to keep His word!
1I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
2My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
3He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
5The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7The LORD will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
8The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.
~Psalm 121, NASB
Be blessed and tell someone you love them!