Our youngest daughter is attending Mission’s school in Florida. Currently, she is in an intensive training. Soon, she will travel to Thailand and Cambodia for several months. She has desired to do missions work since she was in fourth grade. It’s thrilling for her, and for me, well, I spend a lot of time praying. She is, after all, my baby. But to see her doing what she’s called to do gives me great peace.
While she is in school, she oftentimes text messages me, rather than calls. Recently, she sent me a photo of a notebook page with some notes. She explained that she had a meeting with some folks who prayed with her about her future and some areas in her life that held her back. I read the words, “Fear… you often say, ‘What if’ when faced with a situation that causes anxiety or panic. God wants you to begin saying, ‘What IF God.” I smiled – she did seem to worry a lot and would often allow anxious thoughts to hold her back.
Four hours after receiving that text, I got a frantic phone call from her. During a sports activity, she got hit in the face with a metal water bottle and chipped her front tooth in half. Being in an unfamiliar place without knowing a dentist, and being a young 22-year-old with an all-but-missing front tooth, threw her into a panic. As I asked her questions to survey the situation from my home in Pennsylvania, I heard her begin to say, “Mom!! What if I lose my tooth? What if they can’t fix it before I leave for Thailand? What if… …. What if….??” The panic and anxiety had sent her spinning.
I immediately remembered the words that had been spoken over her just a few hours earlier. I raised my voice and said, “You are saying ‘WHAT IF! Stop! Let’s begin saying, ‘what IF GOD?’ ‘What if God will take care of you?’” It was almost like the heavens opened and she realized in a very practical way, that this was something that she constantly did! She quickly responded, “Oh my gosh… I say that all the time.” After some reassurance, I prayed for her and promised that first thing in the morning, we would find a dentist.
In the morning, after several unsuccessful calls, I also began to worry. It was the beginning of Memorial Day Weekend, and most offices were closed or closing early. But on the fourth call we found a wonderful dental office that remained opened for her (on Memorial Day holiday). They treated her like family. She did not lose her tooth, and the dentist was surprised that she only required a crown. He fitted her with a temporary one and she would have a permanent one placed in a few weeks, just a few days before she leaves for her mission’s trip.
On her way home from the dentist, she sent me another photo, this time of herself with her beautiful smile. She called me and said, “Mom, remember how I always disliked my front tooth that was a little crooked? Well, that was the tooth that broke off, and the dentist made the cap completely straight with my other tooth! I actually like my smile better now!” I would say, that was a blessing in disguise. We talked about how God had indeed worked out this situation. It was obvious, He had answered her prayers. He came into the situation when she asked Him.
It’s funny, but since this took place, I have noticed in my own life, how often I go to the “what ifs.” It may be a fleeting thought, or it may be something that keeps me awake at night. Worries, fears, anxiety producing moments that keep me from living, not only in peace, but also without expectation of something good.
What if … we begin replacing our “what ifs” with “What if… God”? What if God answered our prayers? What if God worked out our problem in an amazing way? What if… He did the miraculous… the unexpected… What if he subtly, but obviously intervened?
What is it in your life that causes you fear or anxiety? Your future? Your bills? Your health? Your marriage? Your children? What would it look like if you added God to your what ifs? What would it look like if you began expecting him to take care of you like He promises to… If you began believing that He would make good come from the struggle…If you began believing that He would provide for your needs… that He would heal you…that your marriage could be restored?
Let’s join my daughter on this journey. Let’s change our words. Let’s begin taking a big step of faith. When we find our thoughts and words spinning with fear, let’s pray and ask God to enter into our situation. Wouldn’t it be just amazing IF God came through?