“If we’re not meant to have midnight snacks, why is there a light in the fridge.” - Unknown
Recently, I have been considering one of the smallest, but perhaps most powerful words in the English language, the word If. Too often it is a word used as we look back at mistakes we have made or misfortunes that have visited our life. It can be wished and whispered or spoken with tears as it becomes a lament of what was not done that should have been done. We add the word only to it. If only I had________, then the course and outcome would have been oh so much different. So much brighter and better. Looking back the word is filled with the remorse of pain and loss.
But looking forward this very same word becomes a word of expectant hope and promise. Pregnant with opportunities. We cannot change yesterday’s outcome, but tomorrow is still up for grabs and if I do certain things there is every reason to hope for good. I love the poem, IF, Rudyard Kipling wrote to his son. Several of the lines are so power-filled and up-lifting:
IF you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, ' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch, if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
What great opportunity IF affords us when we look forward. Actions with affect. We all take a peek in the rear-view mirror from time to time, but the real focus must be on the road ahead. Considering what needs to be done on this day with our eyes firmly fixed on future good. God has also given us His promise that we can affect tomorrow, if:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray
and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven,
and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14
I pray that our if’s will be about the future good. That sowing good seeds we will have the expectation of a bountiful harvest.