Before I touch my feet on the cold floor and whisper a sleepy Good Morning to H, I lie still on the pillow and mentally rehearse a list fraught with what-ifs to the cracks in the ceiling. And suddenly, I am blindsided by worry.
What if our house doesn’t sell? What if we are strapped with a mortgage when we move to England? What if we can’t afford to store what we can’t take with us? Or ship what we need to live in a crate?
What if my daughter gets the flu at college and I’m too far away to help her? What if we don’t have the money to fly her home for holidays?
Worry is the red flag warning us that what we know intellectually about trusting Jesus has yet to take root in the heart.
And James convicts me that it’s even more than that.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open. James 1:5-8, MSG
Keeping all my options open when I worry prayers reveals that I fear full surrender. What if there is something I can do to change things and I miss it?
The most challenging part of our lengthy waiting season to London is changing my perspective from a fearful What if to a hopeful Even If. When circumstances are unpredictable, irrational, and unexplainable to people who ask, the truth about God’s character is the answer.
Even if my house doesn’t sell and we must continue paying a mortgage, God hasn’t abandoned me, He is still my provider.
Even if my daughter gets sick without me nearby, God is the divine healer. He loves her more than I do.
Over the past few months, as we wait for the details of our move to fall in place (the skinny I’m impatiently waiting to tell you about) I have heard myself repeat the same question in prayer , mostly when I am exasperated by the lack of movement in our situation. What do you want me to do about this?
Sometimes we think pleasing God is about doing when what He longs for is adoration and stillness. Lately, my prayers have transformed into truth-telling about Jesus that sound something like this.
Even if my house doesn’t sell before we move to England, I believe you are the God who can crush mountains with one word uttered from your mouth. Selling my house is but a sigh for you. I love you because you gave your life for me, not because I want you to change my circumstances.
In Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, Sara Hagerty writes, “Adoration is exploration. The Father loves to be explored. . . . Fear loses oxygen when every moment suspends itself under the purpose of bringing Him glory, of knowing His name and His nature.”
During the last week of December, after six months of relative quiet regarding the sale of our house, we had five showings scheduled. Miraculous, so the professionals tell us.
He sighed on New Year’s Eve for us with the sale of our house. And we celebrated by worship and signing a contract on the first day of 2015.
Now, instead of rehearsing my list of worries to the cracks in the ceiling, I am practicing adoration by reciting the Psalms back to Him. Not because it is a magic formula giving me what I want but because when I exchange my fears for the truth, His love frees me from the tyranny of worry.
What is the What If you can exchange for a hopeful Even If in adoration?