What If…..

The phrase, “what if”, is one of the most powerful two word questions ever put together. Such a small question but with the potential to have such huge results. It is also a phrase that can come from a place of fear or a place of curiosity. You go to the doctor who requests lab work and your first thought is, “What if it’s bad news?” You go to your child’s school at the request of the counselor and think, “What if this is not good?” You have family in the Houston, TX area during Hurricane Harvey and you ask, “What if?” Fear of any situation can cause us to “what if” ourselves to death!

Fear and faith cannot live in the same house. Either one is in and the other is out but you make the choice to who you let in. Faith is believing that God is bigger than your problem and fear is believing that your problem is too big for God to handle. One brings peace and one brings stress, but you decide. Don’t let “what if” from fear control your life!

On the other hand, “what if” has the power to change people, lots of people. What’s happening in Houston is awful but there are lots of people, heroic people, who woke up and thought “What if I can do something to make a difference?” And they have! There have been so many stories of lives being saved and people coming together during the worst of times. “What if” has the potential to change lives for the better!

“What if” has the potential to change your life as well.  Think of all the “what ifs” you can come up with:

1) What if I watch what I eat and start exercising?

2) What if I put just a little more money into my savings or retirement?

3) What if I got up 15 minutes earlier to spend time in study and prayer?

If you did just those three things, you’re life would change drastically! “What if” is potentially powerful but extremely weak if we don’t follow up it with a positive decision to make it happen. If you are satisfied with your life as it is, that’s great. But my thoughts are that the majority of us, including me, would like to make changes, it’s just so hard to actually do it. It usually takes a painful event before we are forced to do those things we know we need to. Yet the potential is there. What is your “what if”? What is stopping you from making that first step towards it today? A small step is sometimes all that is needed to get going.

I want to close out on a different but perhaps more important “what if”. It’s great to make positive changes in our own lives but as followers of Christ, we know that we should put the needs of others before our own. “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees someone in need, yet closes his heart against them, how does God’s love abide in him?” (1 John 3:17) What if we were to do something intentionally each day that made a positive difference in someone’s life? Many of you do that without even thinking about it, I get that. But what if you made a plan to encourage someone or say something uplifting to a particular person each day? Not only would that person change but you would change as well. And there is always a ripple effect. Like skipping a rock on a still pond, each ripple of water causes another ripple. Every good deed you do also has a ripple effect. You may not see it, but it happens.

Why not make a start at home? It’s strange how the people we are closest to are sometimes the ones we treat the worst! But what if you decided to  give a word of encouragement each day to your spouse or your child? Their world would be a little brighter and they would shine on someone else simply because you encouraged them. Words can either build up or tear down. As Christians, we’re told to build one another up. Will you start at home?

Then when you’re not at home, what if you encourage a stranger? Someone at Wal Mart or the grocery store? Your words have the power to make a difference in their lives. Here’s a big “what if”. What if we treated everyone that we come in contact with like they matter? Those same people matter to God and they should matter to us as well. He values each person so much that He gave His own life for each of us! Everyone matters but not everyone feels like they do. What if you helped someone discover that they matter?

Our world is in a mess right now. People are doing things to prove that they matter whether it’s right or wrong. People need to know that no matter who they are or what they’ve done, they matter. It’s not just black people or white people, or straight people or gay people; everyone matters. It shouldn’t be us vs them, it should just be us. But it starts with you and me wherever God has us. Start in your home and then take it to someone else. Let those you love and those you don’t even know, know that they matter.


What if we did that? Can you imagine what our world would look like? It can happen, but we have to take that first step. Go ahead, get started now!


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Author: David McGowin

Ellisville, MS; walking the journey of following Jesus "who loved me and gave himself for me." Hoping to encourage others who are on the journey as well.

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