What if the marriage had worked?
What if he hadn’t died?
What if I had waited?
What if I stay single forever?
What if . . . . ?
Instead of the “what if’s”, the “could have’s”, the “should have’s”, and the “would have’s”, can we shift the questions to this statement?
Even if . . .!
The moment Jesus died on that cross He took all of our “what if’s” and transitioned them to be “even if’s”. When he took all of our sin and shame and placed it on his own shoulders, He covered every “what if” you could ever ask and replaced it with “even if that is true, I still love you and I will never forsake you.”
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV
Recently, I was asked to frame my own story with a “what if”. What if Jesus had never risen on that first Easter morning? The first thing that jumped in my head was that I don’t have to worry about “what if” because the reality of my story lies in the light of the EVEN IF….
Only with the Risen Jesus could I have found peace after the suicide of my husband and hope for redemption and restoration of my life. My story includes abandonment by my own father, divorce of my parents, death of a grandfather who was like my father, alcoholism on one whole side of my family, emotional abuse, and suicide of my husband. Only the Jesus who rose from the grave, who is alive and Lord of all, could restore and redeem a marriage between a living woman and a dead man. After Geoff’s death, the love and mercy of Jesus has given me a peace that only comes from Him as I have worked out the hurts and the betrayals that existed in our marriage.
If Jesus had stayed in the grave, then I wouldn’t have the gift of the Holy Spirit who has brought me (lovingly and sometimes painfully) through the complete healing of my heart and soul. I would not know with confidence that I have been completely forgiven of my responsibilities in our failed marriage. I would not be able to see past my own guilt and shame. I would be stuck in the never ending cycle of “could have’s”, and “should have’s”.
If Easter Sunday had never come, then my husband’s suicide would be the end of our story and the legacy Geoff left for His children would be one of death. But Jesus rose from the grave and because of that, my story is one of life restored and grace given along with the hope that the generational curses of fatherlessness (4 generations on both sides) can and will be broken. Through their father’s suicide, my children have a front row seat to redemption and restoration offered through the cross. They get to see Jesus working in our lives every day, and He is their Father who now co-parents with me. We get to see answers to prayers up close and personal.
Even if the marriage had worked I would still need Jesus!
Even if Geoff hadn’t died, we both would have still needed redemption and restoration in our lives that can only be found in Jesus!
Even if I had waited and married someone else, I would have needed Jesus to heal me from my own past before Geoff!
Even if my story had been different I would still need Jesus in this broken world! We all do!
“What if” becomes “even if” at the cross, where God the Father provided a way for all of our stories to be covered with COMPLETE redemption and restoration. Rest in the “even if” of the cross that redeems and restores your story today!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV