Friday, July 13, 2012

What If?

              Do you ever find yourself saying, “What if?” What if I had done this maybe that would not have happened? What if I had chosen this path, rather than that path? I found myself pondering on some “what ifs” in my life this morning, and was taken back to a time in my life that I am not so very proud of.
                A little over a year ago, the Lord spoke to me and told me to leave my job and the comfort zone I was in and to step out in faith and follow Him. My question today was “what if” I had chosen to ignore His word to me? That is a scary thought to say the least, but there have been times in my walk that I have chosen to not do as He has led me to do.  Some of those what ifs have been, what if I had not chosen to step down from the ministry all those years ago. What if I had chosen to not take that promotion at my job? What if my husband and I had not moved to North Carolina 16 years ago?
                All these “what ifs” reminded me of God’s protection, goodness, and His mercy towards me. If I had chosen to not follow His leading, and step out in faith, I do not think you all would be reading this blog today. I would have chosen to follow in the path of the world and chase after a career. My husband and my children were the ones who would have suffered the cost of my decisions. When I was in the world, I had a hard time staying out of the world. I can empathize with all those women who balance home, kids, family and a career. But God, in His infinite wisdom could see where I was headed and was standing in my path with a big stop sign lifted high saying to me, “Stop this road you are on, and take the next left.” But what if I had taken a right or chose to keep going?
                Ephesians 2:10 says that “We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” My “what ifs” this morning reminded me that even if I had chosen to keep going or to take a right, God would have already had that step planned out. “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.” (Psalm 139:2-5) David states that God knows what we are going to do before we do it, and not only that, but He has hedged us in as well.
                When I think about being hedged in by God, I don’t think of it as something negative. God’s hedge around us is a hedge of protection. He is not going to allow anything to happen to you that He has not already, beforehand, put His stamp of approval on. He is neither shocked nor surprised by the events in our lives. He knows the end from the beginning. He sees your final day on earth before you are even born. The hedge that He has placed around us if for our protection, to keep us on the path the He has already laid out before us.
                Had I taken those paths instead of the ones I did, it would have still been the path the Lord has prepared, since He knew which one I was going to take in the first place. So, is there such a thing as a bad decision then when it comes to choosing which way to go? To some extent, yes, I believe there is, but not necessarily a bad thing- but an opportunity to learn. Had I not chosen to take the promotion that was offered to me and step down from the ministry I know I was created to lead, I would not have learned some of the lessons I have.
Romans 8:28 states, “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes.” Even my bad decisions, even in the smallest detail of my life, God has already been there, laying the pavement that He desires me to walk. If we believe that He is in control of our lives that must include believing that He is in control of our circumstances as well.
                We get so caught up in not wanting to make the wrong decision that we forget to step out in faith. We walk by faith and not by sight. It is much easier to walk by faith when we know and understand and apply this simple principle to our lives: God knows what you are going to do before you do it, and He has already worked the whole path out before you even get there.  Sooner or later you have to make a choice; you have to make a decision. You can pray about it, and seek counsel from godly friends, but sooner or later- you have to step up and step out onto the path that is before you. There are going to be “what if’s” in your life. But what I learned today is that those What If’s were just another possible road to travel, which God had already plotted and planned and paved for me. Had I chosen this path instead of that path- wouldn’t have mattered; either way- God had already gone before me.
                I don’t know where you are on your path today. What crossroads you are coming up on, but one thing I do know and can confidently say- God has already walked this way for you. He has placed His hedge of protection around you, so all you have to do is walk. But walk, one way or another- walk.