Have you ever been facing a struggle about something and had trouble sleeping and you play the “What If” game? “What if…I can’t find a job?” “What if…I keep getting sicker?” “How am I going to get that money that I need?” Maybe it’s a situation with someone close to you and you keep playing out scenarios in your mind. “If they say this, I’ll answer with this. Then they’ll get it!” “I know I prayed and I know God can…but what if?” There is a fight going on between your head and your heart…you trust God, but what if? Ever been there? I sure have…
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4 NLT)
Have you ever been facing a struggle about something and had trouble sleeping and you play the “What If” game? “What if…I can’t find a job?” “What if…I keep getting sicker?” “How am I going to get that money that I need?” Maybe it’s a situation with someone close to you and you keep playing out scenarios in your mind. “If they say this, I’ll answer with this. Then they’ll get it!” “I know I prayed and I know God can…but what if?“
So you lie in your bed all night breaking out in a sweat and feeling like you’re working out when you aren’t even moving a muscle. There is a fight going on between your head and your heart…you trust God, but what if? I mean, there’s a good reason the apostle Paul called it the good fight of faith. Ever been there? I sure have!
This is where a lot of people give up on the promise – give up on seeing the potential of God’s Word turn to reality in their lives. It’s a fight, and when those doubtful thoughts come in, they feel like they failed and give up. They believe those “what if” thoughts more than the Word of God, and they just let it go.
“Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:22-24)
I love this story of the father who brings his son to Jesus for healing. Jesus calls to him to believe – He needs our trust to be able to work in our lives. And how does the father respond? “I believe…but help my unbelief!” I always found that odd, but I have related to it more times than I can count! “Father, my heart believes You…my head…not so much! Help me!”
Brother Hagin said something when I was in Bible School that I have loved for over 20 years now. He said, “You can have faith in your heart and doubt in your head.” Don’t give up because your head isn’t always in complete sync with your heart. You have complete control over what’s in your head. You can direct your thoughts – you are in complete control!
James says here, “When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” Really James? That’s what you meant to say? Didn’t you mean to say to get depressed and worry and be anxious?
No! James really meant to say consider it an opportunity for great joy. Why? Because now you get to see God work.
Trouble comes. It just does. Situations come into our lives that are too big for us to handle. Sometimes they come because of stupid decisions we’ve made and sometimes they come for no reason of our own.
Bottom line is in this life you will have trouble. (Sound familiar? It should…Jesus said it to his disciples.) But He ended it by saying, “BE OF GOOD CHEER, for I have already overcome.”
So, when we start to play that “What If” game, let’s recognize it for the faith stealer and distraction that it really is and start playing a new game. Let’s just do what the Bible says and BE OF GOOD CHEER. Consider it an opportunity for GREAT JOY.
Instead of thinking of all the terrible things that could happen, let’s use our imagination to imagine all the amazing ways that God could come through. All the miraculous ways that He could answer our prayer. Let’s get insanely wild in our imagination of just how BIG our God is.
And let’s rejoice. You don’t have to feel like it to rejoice. Put on praise music if you need a little push in the rejoicing direction. But it’s okay to rejoice even if you don’t FEEL it. We rejoice…not because of what we feel…we rejoice because of what we know to be truth. Sometimes you just rejoice in faith, and that’s okay!
He is faithful. Fill your mind with the promise instead of the possible negative outcomes. Hold on to the Word. Hold on to the One who spoke the Word. He is faithful who promised!
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)