(First posted February 24, 2010)
I have been reading quite a bit of the writings of Isobel Kuhn, a protestant missionary to China right before Communism took over. The excerpt below is from a book about a married couple and child who were trapped in China at the onset of Communism and not allowed to leave for quite awhile. Isobel focuses in on the question that can tempt us all at various times in our lives: “If only . . .” The woman she is writing about is the wife and mother in the family.
“If only that letter had not come, inviting us here.” What about the “if”? She got them [a tract she had on “If”] and read:
Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” [Jn 11.32b]” And He could have been there; He was not far away. He knew all about it, and He let him die. I think it was very hard for that woman . . . It is something God could have made different, if He had chosen, because He has all power; and He has allowed that “if” to be there.
I do not discount the “if” in your life. No matter what it is . . . Come to the Lord with your “if” and let Him say to you what He said to Martha. He met her “if” with His “if”! “Did I not tell you that IF you would believe you would see the glory of God” [Jn 11.40]” The glory of God is to come out of the “if” in your life. . .
Do not be thinking of your “if.” Make a power out of your “if” for God. . .
Do you know that light is to fall on your “if” some day? Then take in the possibilities and say, “Nothing has ever come to me, nothing has ever gone from me, that I shall be better for God by it . . .”
Face the “if” in your life and say, For this I have Jesus.
But there is nothing to be ashamed of if you experience those “ifs” plaguing you, as Isobel Kuhn goes on to write:
[O]ur Lord never scolded Martha for her “if”; nor Mary (who accompanied the same “if” with mute worship, prostrating herself at His feet), but with her, He wept. Wept at the sorrow which must accompany spiritual growth in our lives: for by suffering He also learned obedience. (Green Leaf in Drought, p. 36)