“If only _______, I’d be able to serve God better.”
What do you fill in the blank with? If only I was younger? If only I was financially stable? If only I had the time, was stronger, smarter, less socially awkward. If only I was healthier, wasn’t such a worrier, knew what to do?
Sometimes we blame others or outside circumstances. If only so-and-so didn’t screw up my life, or such and such hadn’t happened. If only so-and-so came with me or so-and-so stayed home. If only the decorations were better, a/c cooler, heat hotter, and if only there was a better teacher.
Flip it around. “If only ________, God would be able to love me better.”
Sounds wrong doesn’t it. It is. God can’t love you any better because He’s the best and has the best love and there is nothing that would change the amount or quality of His love for us and desire for us to walk with Him in service and in joy.
And there is nothing you could “if only” to love God and others better. God has a plan for you right now, right where you are, in exactly the position you are in, with exactly the people that are around you, with exactly the problems you are facing and emotions you are dealing with. God has made you for exactly “such a time as this” (just like the story of Esther!).
But what about your “if only’s?” Don’t they count for something? Nope. Paul says in Romans 8: 28 that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” That means God can use every little bit of exactly how things are to work His purpose through you.
From the cradle to our youth, our heyday to the nursing home and to the grave, God’s glory can shine to us and through us. If only we took “if only” out of our vocabulary. And “would be able to.” And “better.” That leaves us with a simple sentence to live: “I serve God.” Much better. I do, too. Imperfectly, sometimes uglily, often awkwardly, but somehow beautifully.
“With humans none of it is possible, with God all things are possible.” Jesus said that. I’m so glad he loves you and has picked you exactly where you are to walk with him.
See you at the garden. SK
Sean King is the Pastor for First Christian Church of Cisco.