What If’s and If Only’s

It was twilight, and he needed to be alone. God calling his father home had been an emotional journey. He needed the stillness of the night to quiet his raw emotions and reflect on all that had happened.

Joseph wearily laid back on the soft grass admiring the many stars in the sky. He often found himself trying to count them all. Eventually, out of habit, his mind traveled back to the time when he told his family about his dream of the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowing down to him. He closed his eyes and relived telling his brothers that he had dreamed about their bundles of grain bowing down to his. Immediately, his eyes flew open underneath a furrowed brow as he pictured their angry faces. It was that self-centered pride of his that turned his life into one of perpetual trouble. He understood that now and continually lived with the what if’s and if only’s.

As though the curtain of a play had slowly risen, the highlights of his life meandered across the stage of his mind one act at a time. He had been rejected and betrayed by his family, sold into slavery, accosted and spitefully accused by someone more powerful than him, wrongly imprisoned, forgotten, and abandoned. However, this time as he grieved and ruminated on his life, he noticed a Man in every act – a man he’d not noticed before. This Man seemed to enjoy staying out of the spotlight, but He always kept the play moving along in the right direction. Joseph noticed the Man sitting with him in the bottom of the well his brothers had tossed him into. The same Man stayed with him the entire time he was shackled with Midianite chains. Though the Man spoke softly, He offered some quiet reassurance, “When you’re hurting, I want you to know that you’ll never have to hurt alone. When your faith is running low I’ll never lose faith in you.” 

When the next act opened, the same Man was standing right there next to Joseph as he was wrongly accused and convicted. He put his arm around Joseph’s shoulders, pulled him close, and then leaned toward his ear, whispering, “When you think that all the odds are all against you, and you just feel like giving up, well, I won’t let you. Through whatever you go through, I’m standing with you.”

Tears began to roll down Joseph’s cheeks as he realized he had never ever been alone. This new Friend had always been with him. He remembered feeling comforted by an unexplainable peace. He didn’t know where it came from, but he was sure he’d heard a voice deep within reminding him, “We all have times when we can’t be strong – when it feels like all hope is gone. But, I’m right here to lean on. I’ll always be strong for you.” Suddenly, he realized that it was this still small voice of his newly discovered Friend that had been renewing his strength and faith all along – one act at a time! Every single scene of every single act had been used for good. 

That realization changed everything! His focus quickly shifted from grief to glory, from rejection to love, from alone to befriended, and from insecure to confident. Instead of ruminating on the past and counting the stars in the sky, Joseph’s new habit became counting the blessings in his life. 

Why is it often easier to think on all the things that went wrong, are wrong, or could go wrong? We ruminate on all the negative things we’ve ever done, said, or thought, and respond with, “If only I hadn’t …” We condemn ourselves and shackle our joy. We get into such a habit of stinkin’ thinkin’ that other people avoid us to get away from the stench. 

Since it’s so easy to think about our past mistakes, why not go back and place Jesus in every sad scenario? After all, He was there all along; we just didn’t always look His way. Let’s allow Him to change our perspective. I would love for you to play the song at the end of this post. Then, sit back and remember the things you can’t forget. But this time, instead of beating yourself up or wishing things had been different, picture Jesus with you. Notice His arm around your shoulders, pulling you close – loving you, protecting you, and comforting you. Imagine Him singing these words over you in the middle of your struggle. Enjoying the presence of Jesus is so worth four minutes of your time. 

“BUT THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. THE LORD WAS WITH HIM and caused everything he did to succeed.” (Genesis 39:21-23 NLT, emphasis mine)

PLAY THE SONG HERE!
Posted in
What If Is and If Only Is Poster Image

Donna Jackson

The Greater Miracle

By Donna Jackson | June 11, 2024 |

I am taking a page out of Network TV’s playbook this summer. Since I will be working on a special writing project for the next few months, I’ll be rerunning a few of my past blog posts here on Perfection Road. I hope you won’t wander away. I’m excited about this new project and anxious…

Wearing the Dust of Surrender

By Donna Jackson | May 14, 2024

Many of us have difficulty believing how much God loves us because of unhappy circumstances and thoughtless people who made us feel unlovable. Feeling unloved shoots holes into our complete surrender, causing our souls to become weary and restless. That’s when we painstakingly fashion idols of unbelief by taking our eyes off God’s love and…

Change Your Water to Wine

By Donna Jackson | May 7, 2024

A friend recently asked me which of my blogs is my favorite. Without hesitation, I named two of them. The one you are about to read is one of them.  I enjoyed looking at Jesus’ first miracle from an unexpected angle. Perhaps you, too, can identify with being filled with the traditions of men only…

What’s Going On, God?

By Donna Jackson | April 30, 2024

If only Peter and his six buddies could have fired up the speakers in his fishing boat and played a Gaither song, perhaps their bewilderment after Jesus’s death and resurrection would have been eased. Instead, Peter did what many of us do when our understanding becomes cloudy; He returned to what was familiar. He and…

Does Your Passion for Jesus Show?

By Donna Jackson | April 23, 2024

Does your passion for Jesus show? Our prayer team gathered in a small room Sunday to pray for those leading the worship service and those in attendance. We prayed for the Holy Spirit to penetrate hearts and change lives. I’ve come to love listening to each of those passionate prayers. Heartfelt prayers spoken with such…

Where Do We Start?

By Donna Jackson | April 16, 2024

Mark Keathley’s “Dance of Grace” painting hangs in our living room. It depicts a circle of six children playfully dancing with Jesus. I can almost hear the uptempo music and the children’s laughter whenever I pause long enough to soak in that moment. Jesus’ smile says it all. He seems to be having a most…

Please Don’t Stop!

By Donna Jackson | April 2, 2024

If you had been Adam or Eve, how would you have felt seeing the flaming sword and mighty cherubim blocking your way back to the Garden of Eden?  Knowing they had listened to Satan and wrongly chosen to do things their own way removed Adam, Eve, and all of us from the joy of living…

The Grief Bear

By Donna Jackson | March 26, 2024

If you stop in at a ranger’s station in any national park, you will hear warnings about bears. You will be reminded that bears are massive hunters and keen trackers with razor-sharp claws. Their color and size depend on what part of the country you choose to hike through. Unless they are foraging for food…

Holy in an Unholy World

By Donna Jackson | March 19, 2024

Getting a fresh taste of God’s word fills and thrills my soul. Every year, I enjoy reading from a different translation as I travel from beginning to end. This year, I chose the Day-by-Day Chronological Bible. It highlights how God has written the most fascinating story that includes us all. Each daily reading begins with…

Holiness 101 in the Checkout Line

By Donna Jackson | March 12, 2024

We spent this past weekend in Auburn. Since the rain had moved out and our place was within walking distance of Walmart, I laced up my tennis shoes to get what we needed. With our topic of holiness simmering unconsciously on the back burner of my brain, God decided to create a teachable moment for…