Many people have played the mental game of what if from time to time. It is that moment when you enter your psyche and ask yourself a very interesting and thought provoking interogative–What if? Many people may consider this mental processing exercise dangerous. It can reveal to many individuals their feelings about once resolved issues. In some cases, people have taken internal inquiry to the next stage of external pursuit.
While I am not attempting to tell anyone how to address his or her own understanding of a what if moment, I can’t help but be intrigued by the premise and notion of the question. It makes me think about areas of living where this interrogation of the heart can be applied.
Let’s try this premise. Consider the following thought: What if Jesus did not die? What if Jesus decided not to follow through with the plan to die on the cross? The simple answer would be that we would not have a chance beyond this life. The more complex and realistic answer is that we don’t have a clue.
I step back at times and consider how powerful and awesom a concept it is for anyone to willingly give his or her life for another person. It is powerful enough when it is an acute situation. Yet, the plan of salvation was an intentional, premeditated idea. The strategy was not last minute. The need was not a recent happening. The plan was set in motion almost 4000 years ago prior to the act of crucifixion.
After all the time invested, the idea that Jesus would even think about stopping the process of salvation is absurd. Isn’t it? Well we can find a string of scriptures that challenge the notion. What if Jesus would have aborted the mission in the garden? Most believers do not like looking at Jesus through the lens of struggle. The Savior should not have any doubts about performing a task. Right? Come on, Jesus was resolute about everything else. Why not this act? We don’t look at the Christ through the looking glass of humanity. Why? We are constantly engaged with the divinity of Jesus.
The subject of death is a serious step. Death has unbelievable consequences. Death is the finality of a season of existence. To enter this process, Jesus had to be clear that this method of dying was the right one. Before you accuse me of heresy, read the Bible. Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done. (Luke 22:42) Jesus made the request. Does that suddenly make you think that Jesus was weak? Does it take away from the power of Christ? No.
As a matter of fact, every believer should go to a church service on Sunday and disrupt the proceedings with an ugly praise. Think about it. Jesus was seeking another way. It never came. Here comes the shout. Jesus bound himself to unconditional obedience to the Father knowing His request could be denied. Jesus could have disobeyed but did not.
Even in the most challenging mental and emotional moments, Jesus safeguarded himself by yielding to relationship over personal feelings. That act is great sacrifice. How many of us could do the same? Trust me. Many people who will attempt to say yes have never faced a decision the magnitude of dying on the cross.
Ok. So that depth of choice may not have been crucifixion. Nobody will ever be in the position to choose death as an option to redeem anyone let along 7 billion people. That expectation is not fair to anyone. However, think about decisions that might have change the course of our existence.
What if you went on a date with the nerd rather than the jock? It is very possible you might have been in a flourishing relationship rather than being with a shallow shell of a human being. What if you didn’t go to the networking event? You might have never received the moment to interview for your dream job. When you think about varied issues in your life, you will find many what if moments that will make you consider the path you are current taking.
The question what if then serves as a necessary tool and unique reference point. When we feel down about our acute moments, let’s take a second to assess the alternative. I bet you have already considered all the possible alternatives. After reflecting on the various options, thank God that you are better fo than the momentary struggle you face. Just remember……what if…..