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“If Only” and “What If”

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

I was chatting with a friend the other day and was struck by two phrases that came up in our conversation: “if only” and “what if.”

“If only” looks at the past with regret. “If only I had not done that ... If only that had not happened ... If only I had acted differently.”

“What if” looks at the future with fear. “What if the worst happens? ... What if I fail? ... What if things go wrong?”

God’s hope is the perfect counter to both “if only” and “what if.” In God’s hope, we don’t have to look backward with “if only” regrets because Jesus has forgiven all our sin and he can redeem the worst that has ever happened to us. And, in God’s hope, we don’t have to fear the future by imagining terrible “what if” scenarios because we know that God will cause all things to work together for our good (Romans 8:28) and that we have an eternity in Heaven to look forward to!

It’s time to replace “if only” and “what if” with the hope that will fill us with joy and peace – the hope that is ours through the power of the Holy Spirit living within us!

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