What if? Combining those two simple words to form a simple question opens the door to a world of possibilities, doesn’t it?
What if has launched countless dreams that have changed the course of our world. Astronaut Neil Armstrong had a what if. So did visionaries Henry Ford, Dr. Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and Bill Gates. I’ve got to believe that each of these amazing people, at some point in their lives, questioned “What if?”
If I look over my shoulder at my past, especially my younger years, I could make a list of What ifs that served to shape the way that my life has unfolded…what if I’d finished college?...what if I had tried a bit harder?…what if I had found God earlier in my life? What if? What if? What if?
Truth be told, I really don’t spend a lot of time looking over my shoulder, wondering what if I had turned left instead of right, or said “no” instead of “yes”. What’s the point in doing so? I can’t get a re-do on decisions that I’ve made in my life. What’s done is done; it’s history. Besides, if I spent all of my time looking at the past, I couldn’t enjoy the present, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to dream of the what ifs that may be in my future…
This past week was a pretty rough one for me in our salon. I had to fire a member of our team on Monday. Two people were out with some type of virus on Tuesday, and another called in sick on Wednesday. One of our stylists took exception to something that was said by someone else, and the resulting tension in the salon was almost palpable. There were shipping delays on two huge supply orders that I had placed on Monday and Wednesday. In the midst of all of this, work continued on the current expansion of our salon. Wow.
I woke up at 4 o’clock on Thursday morning with the feeling that I was suffocating! It was obvious that the events of the week were taking a toll on me mentally. I made my way to my prayer chair in our kitchen, anticipating the comfort of being in prayer and meditation with God.
I don’t know, maybe fifteen or twenty minutes into prayer my mind started to wander a bit, and I found myself posing one of those what if questions…
What if Eve had never taken a bite of the apple in the Garden of Eden?
Have you ever thought about that one? How different would things be for us?
I’ve gotta add something here: I know that Eve took the first bite, but if she hadn’t, it would have been Adam. Or one of their kids. Or one of their kids. I believe that, sooner or later, someone would’ve taken a bite of that apple! You see, it’s part of our nature as humans to succumb to temptation from time to time, and the temptation was just too great.
Before I move on, let me give you another what if to ponder on later…
What if God knew all along that somebody was gonna eat the apple? That it was part of His plan for us?
So there I was, sitting in my prayer chair, wondering what it would be like if no one had ever taken a bite of the apple?
God’s presence. Abundance. No suffering. No pain. No sickness. No prejudice. Peace. Love. Joy. Happiness.
I’m sure that I probably left a lot off of the list, but I think you get what I’m trying to say here. Take away that one bite, and life as we know it, well, wouldn’t be life as we know it! Come to think of it, I think that if I was asked to define “heaven”, I would’ve used the same words to do so. Heaven on earth, in the Garden of Eden. What a ticket!
I spent the next few minutes fast-forwarding through my fifty-seven years on this earth, and especially the years following August of 2006, when I was born again.
IF no one had bitten the apple, I might not have known the miracles that God has worked in my life. I might not have been lifted up out of the hopelessness that plagued me for so many years. I might not have known what it was like to be without, and then to have. I might not have appreciated His awesome Power and Glory. I might have never known His Wisdom and Compassion. I might have never known the ultimate display of sacrifice in Jesus being crucified on the cross. I might not have this fire in me that burns for Him every day; to love Him, to know Him, and to serve Him.
If no one had taken a bite of the apple, my life definitely wouldn’t have been the same. It would certainly have been easier. But would it have been as full?
I was in church yesterday morning, flanked by my wife Jackie and some of our closest friends. We were singing songs of praise, and as we were doing so, I was once again reflecting on What if?
But this time, it was a different question…
What if God said to me, “Okay Sam, your time here is up. Well done, my good and faithful servant. Are you ready to put down your burdens down and come home?”
As I stood there in church, tears streaming down my face, attempting to sing but overcome by emotions, I realized yet again just how blessed I am. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything on earth. In fact, I wouldn’t even trade it for the promise of heaven, at least not yet.
I believe that God puts all of us here for a reason, a purpose. I feel that I just stumbled upon my reason for being here a few years ago, and that there is much that I have yet to accomplish.
I’d ask Him for a little more time.