Mark D. Roberts

What If?


What if the LORD had not been on our side
     when people attacked us?

Have you ever found yourself wondering “What if”? Perhaps you’ve asked
yourself this question from a place of disappointment and missed
opportunity. What if I’d taken that other job? What if I’d gone to the
doctor earlier?

our “What if” questions come with grateful wonder. What if I hadn’t
followed up on that fruitful lead? What if I hadn’t asked the doctor to
check out that tumor when it was still so small? Given how close I came
to ignoring Laity Lodge’s interest in me, and how much I love my work
with this outstanding ministry, I have sometimes wondered: “What if God
hadn’t been so gracious as to break through my closed-minded
assumptions about my life’s possibilities?”

Psalm 124 begins
with this sort of “What if” scenario. It assumes the fact that god had
been on the side of his people, protecting them from their enemies.
Based on this assumption, the psalm writer asks, “What if the LORD had
not been on our side when people attacked us?” (124:2). The answer, not
a pretty one, underscores the value of God’s merciful deliverance.

don’t think we ought to live every day in the world of “What if”
hypotheticals. But, ever now and then, this question can accentuate our
gratitude. It can even help us to be thankful for gifts of God that we
have previously taken for granted.

What if God did not love me?
What if he held me liable for my sins without offering a way of
forgiveness? What if God was not rich in mercy? What if life had no
ultimate purpose?

Thanks be to God that we don’t have to fret
about these “What ifs.” Thanks be to God for his glorious grace and
matchless love given to us in Jesus Christ!

As you think of God’s goodness to you, which “What if” questions
augment your gratitude? How have you experienced God’s grace recently?
Have you paused to reflect on this gift with “What if” gratitude?

PRAYER: Gracious God, what if you did
not love me? Thank I would be stuck in dread of a God who ignored me at
best, and despised at worst.

What if you help me liable for my
sins without providing a way of forgiveness? Then I would be found
guilty, plain and simple. If you did not take my sin upon yourself in
the Son, then I would have no hope of forgiveness and freedom, no
promise of ever being in relationship with you.

What if you were
not rich in mercy, Lord? Then I would be inestimably poor, reaping the
sorry harvest of my sin. And I would be afraid to approach you, for
fear of rejection . . . or worse.

What if life had no ultimate
purpose? Then I would be mired in the muck of meaninglessness.  I would
be forced to live for my own fleeting pleasures rather than to play a
vital role in your grand drama of cosmic redemption.

All praise
be to you, gracious God, because all of my fearful “What ifs” evaporate
in the warmth of your love and grace. Hallelujah! Amen.


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This devotional comes from The High Calling of Our Daily Work (, a wonderful website about work and God. You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.

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