Have you ever been attacked by the what ifs? "What if I don't finish my report on time?" "What if I don't pass the test?" "What if I don't make the team?" "What if I get sick and can't go on the class trip?" "What if he/she doesn't want to hang with me?"
A bad case of the what ifs can make you want to hole up in your room all day. If the what ifs were part of a video game, they would be the aliens that you'd blast out of the sky. They are not friendly creatures. They rob us of confidence. They're out to sap our energy, so that we'll be defenseless under their attack.
But in any problem, we can always depend on God. That's the one fact the what ifs want us to forget. Knowing this spiritual fact is a power. It blasts the what ifs away from our lives. Because if God is with us, then good is with us. If we can count on God's love under all circumstances, then no matter what scenario the what ifs dream up, we'll be able to reply: "God has an answer. I can depend on God. God will help me."
In the Bible, someone named David showed what happens if you don't let the what ifs take over your thinking (see I Sam., Chap. 17). He was spending most of his time in Bethlehem, watching over his family's sheep. His brothers were serving in King Saul's army. So his dad asked him to take some food to his brothers, over in the valley of Elah.
When he got there, he learned about a man named Goliath. He was in the Philistines' army, and he had challenged King Saul to send someone to fight him. Goliath was an enormous man - a giant - and incredibly strong. And because of this, Saul and his men had had an attack of the what ifs. "What if we're not strong enough?" "What if Goliath's a better fighter?" "What if we fail?" So no one had accepted Goliath's challenge.
David didn't listen to the what ifs. He remembered God. He approached King Saul and volunteered to fight Goliath. But Saul was not so enthusiastic. He told David he was too young. That Goliath was too powerful.
David didn't agree. First he told the king that when his family's sheep had been attacked once by a lion, and another time by a bear, he had killed them and rescued the sheep. Then David announced to the king: "The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine [Goliath]."
Saul was convinced. It must have been good to hear from someone who wasn't filled with the what ifs. And David was successful. He quickly defeated Goliath.
When David heard "What if you're too young?" or "What if Goliath has too much skill?" he remembered to count on God. In effect, he told King Saul, "You are forgetting God. God is in charge. God is all-powerful. God can be counted on." This destroyed the what ifs, and so they couldn't stop David from being victorious.
The woman who founded this newspaper discovered Christian Science, which is all about relying on God for help and healing. On Page 410 of the Christian Science textbook, she wrote: "Every trial of our faith in God makes us stronger. The more difficult seems the material condition to be overcome by Spirit [by God], the stronger should be our faith and the purer our love" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures").
Doesn't this describe David! The challenge of Goliath simply made him stronger. It caused his faith in God to grow. His love for God increased as well.
We can do the same thing. We don't have to let the what ifs take over our thinking or our life. We can know God. We can learn how God is always at hand, and why His total goodness will help us. We can remember what we've learned by praying.
The next time an attack of the what ifs comes over the horizon, remember that God is always with you. Then, you'll blast every last one of them out of the sky. You'll be able to go ahead with confidence in God, and live out the good that God has planned for you.
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