The What If that Makes All the Difference

10:47 AMHeather

I'm reading through Luke right now.  Yeah, yeah, family has been reading Luke 2 on Christmas Eve for my entire life. It's one of those four gospels...sure.  Matthew, Mark, LUKE and John. "Let's dive in," I thought with a calloused skepticism.


Am I the only one that can tend to get a bit prideful about reading something that I've already read?  Or I think I've read, anyway.  Don't we all tend to approach church or God's Word or Christianity as if it's stale and there's nothing new to discover?

Wherever you fall on this, bear with me. 

Because like bad fashion trends when everything old is new again, those things that we tend to take for granted have so much to offer when we dare to look at them with a second glance.

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!
Luke 1:45

These are the words of Elizabeth when her younger relative Mary showed up, all fresh from a conversation with an angel. As far as this account tells us, Mary had yet to utter a word.  She had just entered Elizabeth's house, and the baby in Elizabeth's womb jumped in her womb.  And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She is all loud and excited as she realizes what has just happened to Mary...what the angel had revealed to Mary.

Without a word, Elizabeth could see -- Elizabeth knew -- that Mary had taken the angel at his word.  She knew Mary believed.

She knew that Mary had just taken God's word for it.  

I've read that before.  But this time, my mind was off and running.

What if?

What if I just took God at his word?  What if I just met my tendency toward unbelief head on and I just dared to take God at his word?

What if I believed that when others tend to harm me, that God intends to use it for good to accomplish bigger things?  (Genesis 50:20)

What if I took him at his word when he said that if I obey his commands and faithfully revere him that he will bless me? (Deuteronomy 6:24)

What if I stood firm that the Lord my God IS God?  As in, he's in control, and he is faithful? Always? (Deuteronomy 7:9)

What if I really cared more about my heart, which God sees, than my outward appearance that man judges? (1 Samuel 16:7)

What if I dared to believe that God has placed me where I am, in this exact time with the exact people I encounter for such a time as this, just as he orchestrated every detail for Esther? (Esther 4:14)

What if I woke up every single day with the absolute conviction that his mercies were new and I had a fresh start and do over? (Lamentations 3:23)

What if I could take as absolutely true that he has removed my sins as far as the east from the west instead of recounting them and being haunted by my mistakes? (Psalm 103:12)

What if I lived each day convinced that greatness is actually serving other people, providing for the least of these, and humbling myself into a position of being least? (Matthew 5:19, 25:45)

What if I truly embraced that God does not give a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind and I refused to bow to fear or anxiety in light of that? (2 Timothy 1:7)

What if I went about every single day, fully trusting that he will give me all I need for life and godliness?  (2 Peter 1:3)

What if I just took him at his word?  What if I actually prayed continually and approached his throne of mercy boldly and sought him first, trusting that all the rest comes after?  What if I traded the burdens I carry for his light and easy load and cast all my cares upon him?

What if?

Because I am learning more and more that the problem isn't that God isn't enough or that he isn't holding up his end of the bargain.

The problem is that I don't take him at his word.  I have a major problem with unbelief.  And it's evident when I worry about something, try to fix even daily struggles on my own, beat myself up over mistakes, give in to fear or anxiety, refuse to overlook the offenses of others, and a million other nasty daily habits.  All of it--every bit of it--boils down to one thing.

I don't just take his word for it. 

Because his Word is full to overflowing with promises and guidance and direction and hope and truth.

And the truth sets us free.

Oh the captivity I choose to stay in because I don't take him at his word. The knots I tie myself up in because I don't fully trust.

That I might be as Mary.  An angel said it.  God meant it.  She believed it.

And she was therefore blessed.The joy that must have overtaken her.

I want to be like Mary.  I want to walk away from any encounter with Jesus, be it reading his word or singing a praise song or seeing a prayer answered... I want to walk away changed.  Convinced.  Convicted of his absolute nature that what he says he will do, he does. That I could live out this truth...God said it.  I believe it.  That settles it.

What grief might I avoid if I lived like this?  

Freedom.  I've already chosen this as my word for 2015.

And I feel sure that I will find it in increasing measure as I pursue his word relentlessly and continually acknowledge my unbelief and shout this Scripture at the top of my lungs, with all that I am.

I do believe!  Help my unbelief! 
Mark 9:24

Because I am coming to see that the reason I live daunted by circumstances is that I don't really take him at his word.  

But when I do.  Watch out.

Undaunted.  Unstoppable.  Undeterred by unbelief.

Then, may I be called blessed because I believe that what he says will be accomplished.

Amen and amen.

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