Stop “if only”ing life!
Devotional Thought of the Day:
26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” 28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. 29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” John 20:26-29 (NLT2)
Some people wish they could have lived in Jesus’ day so they could have heard His voice and His teaching. They forget there were thousands who heard Jesus but who had no idea what He was talking about. They forget that His own disciples had to wait for the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to know what He had been telling them.
“If only I had heard Jesus,” you may have said. No, you are better off now. You have the Light that lights every person. You have the voice of the inner conscience.
“Blessed are those who believe without seeing me….”
Think about those words. Probably you have yet to see Jesus face to face. But think about the fact Jesus declares you more blessed than Thomas. You are more blessed than the disciple who, burnout, weary, and grieving sees his dead Rabbi/Savior/Friend before him,
He was talking about you and me there… when He spoke ot the emotion wreck that was Thomas.
Now, let’s apply that to your present situation.
How often do we grieve our present circumstance by saying, “if only?”
If only there wasn’t COVID? If only the political parties could truly get along and work for what is best? If only I had a better job, better car, better spouse, better behaved kids, if only I had better…
Like one here right now to tend to my every desire. a god who would let me do things perfectly?
We may even spiritualize it, as Tozer suggested people do. If only I was one of the people who worked beside Paul, and got to hear His teachings. Or maybe his teaching was hard, if only I walked with Peter. If only I was one of the 12? I would sin less, I would understand more, I would… I would…
No, you wouldn’t.
They were sinners there, just like now. They struggled to learn, just like now. They didn’t get it at times…just like now.
All the “if only’s” are is a veiled sense of sin. Either the sin of coveting what you perceive is an advantage someone else has, or covering up your own shortfalling and sin. I know it all to well… I do it myself.
And we need to stop…
For we have something that the “if only’s” could never provide. We dwell in the presence of God. The Holy SPirit has revealed God to us..and guarantees God will be there, always. We don’t have to wait for nail scars or epiphanies. He is here.
We need to just trust Jesus, the One we don’t see in the flesh, yet we consume in communion. The Jesus who sent His Spirit to abide in us. That Jesus…
Believe in Him, and you are blessed. Not you will be blessed, you are blessed. Depend on Him, and You will know a peace, a serentiy, a contentment that is beyond anything you can imagine. Because everything else that can cause anxiety, anguish, greed or shame is eliminated.
You will realize you don’t need the “if only”‘s anymore…
For you dwell in the presence of God, now and for all eternity.
A. W. Tozer and Marilynne E. Foster, Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 366-Day Devotional (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2007).