Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here…
One of the biggest traps that prevents a person from seizing the opportunity before them, is living the “if only” excuse. We play the recording so often that many of us are not aware what we are even doing.
If only I married the other person. If only I majored in accounting rather than biology. If only I said yes. Or if only I said no. We not only glance at life in the rear-view mirror, but we drive the car looking behind us rather than what is right in front of us. Try it some day and see how difficult and dangerous it is.
John writes in his gospel the story of Lazarus’ death. Lazarus was the brother of Martha and Mary and all three loved by Jesus. When Jesus delayed his coming by two days, Lazarus died. When Jesus finally showed up, Martha threw the “if only” card at Jesus. Jesus didn’t catch it but simply focused on the current situation and again rose someone from the dead. Jesus didn’t accept the ‘if only” card.
When we play the “if only” card, we try to justify it. The fact is, if we could have, we would have. But, maybe because of responsibility at the time, or health, or incomplete facts, we made a decision. Most likely, if you had the same information today that you had back then, you would make the same choice.
The next time you catch yourself stating the “if only” excuse, slap your face. Then was then; today is today. Learn from yesterday, plan for tomorrow, but live for today. All you have today is in front of you. Ask God for the wisdom to seize the opportunities that lie in front of you today. Learn to distinguish God’s activity at the moment, and look for ways to join Him.
As you mature in your relationship with our Lord, you will find yourself using the ‘if only” card less and playing the “what’s next Lord” track more. As a child matures into an adult, you will likewise mature in your walk with Father-Son-Spirit. You will receive constant reassurances during the day that you are important to Him and learn to trust Him more and more each day.
Again, forget the “if only” trap. Instead, learn to pray and walk with the “what’s next Lord” attitude. You will be pleasantly surprised by the transformation.
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