In and of themselves, what and if are innocuous words. But paired together, they can twist thought into worry, fear, or regret. Who hasn’t felt the anguish of wondering something like, What if I lose my job? What if I had left the house earlier for that appointment? What if I had said yes to that relationship? What if I’m not feeling well tomorrow?
At the heart of such negative “what if” questions is a belief that something other than our all-loving, all-good God is governing us. It’s a belief that some evil could befall us in the future, or that we missed an opportunity to take an action in the past, and our life consequently took a turn for the worse. Or even that we narrowly escaped trouble this time but might not be so fortunate next time.
A “what if” question can cause anxiety, guilt, or self-condemnation. And, since there will never be a definitive answer, asking the question only begins an unsatisfying thought process. Wondering “what if?” never makes us feel better.