The "What-If" Game
When I was a teenager, I remember playing the what-if game with my siblings and friends. Someone would make up a scenario—real or pretend—and then ask you to tell them what you would do. It was an entertaining way to waste time and occasionally, in between the silly and ridiculous answers, there were a few well-thought-out responses. (I emphasis a few!)
As I’ve grown older, the what-if game has been replaced with the what-now game! The scenarios are no longer fictitious; they are real and they require serious contemplation. Coming up with mindless answers no longer cuts it. I must think through situations and more importantly, talk through situations. I can’t tell you how times I’ve claimed the promise of James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” I’m so thankful for a Heavenly Father who created me to think and—when asked—graciously infuses my thoughts with His wisdom.
“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” Proverbs 19:21
Critical thinking and concentrated praying should be a well-developed discipline of every Christian. Too often, we go weeks—even years—without stopping to think about how we are living our lives or what God is wanting to do in and with our life.
One of the redeeming qualities of the what if game is its ability to cause you to create interesting scenarios to pose to other players. I always wanted to ask the questions that either got a good laugh or caused the player to think really hard.
Lately, I’ve been exercising my brain cells by asking myself some what if questions. To be honest, they have challenged me and, in some cases, scared me, because I know that I can’t laugh them off or pass on my turn. And what makes it even more thought-provoking is what God attaches to each question: What now? What will I do about it?
I wonder if these same questions would cause you to ponder, search your heart and seek your Heavenly Father’s wisdom. I sure hope they don’t make you laugh!
What if the pressures, challenges, and frustrations about this season in your life actually had little to do with this season in your life? What if today’s empty hand was preparation for what you will be entrusted to hold tomorrow?
What if you really believed that God feels passionately for you and is not some detached Deity, preoccupied with managing the universe at the expense of the Fatherly care that you need?
What if you decided to stop squashing God’s leading in your life just because it isn’t appreciated or affirmed by those with whom you are close?
What if you grew to despise the thought of living another day for sub-par purposes and the mindless pursuits of attaining material things?
What if you gave yourself permission to turn loose of your need to control and manage pretty much everything?
What if you committed to find a hurting person with no other agenda than to come away with a certainty that you helped them?
What if your lofty and orthodox theology suddenly turned into genuine love?
What if that person you are hesitant to share the message of Christ with became a believer because your love for them finally outweighed your fear of their rejection?
What if a haughty look never found your face again because you uprooted arrogance and pride from your heart?
What if someone who is sick or lonely picked up the phone and on the first ring heard your voice saying, “I’ve been thinking about you today–do you have a minute to chat?”
What if you rushed into the presence of God in prayer and spewed out how utterly sick and tired you are about the stubborn bitterness in your heart and asked Him to set you free?
What if you chose to deal with your past sins, failures, and guilt in the very same way that God has dealt with them?
What if you knew that tomorrow would be your final day on earth and that God was offering you an unhindered opportunity to embrace whatever you thought would be best for those final hours?
All these what-if’s are intended to do one thing: slow us down, get us thinking, and then move us to a point where we stop playing games.