An essential part of the discovery process is looking back at your life analytically in order to discovery clues about your calling through the things you’ve loved and the things you didn’t, the things that wounded you and their inherent messages, the people that came into your life and their affect. In other words, seeing and understanding what both sides were up to throughout your life (the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan).
When exploring the terrain of our past, it’s easy to walk into the quicksand of “if only”.
If only that hadn’t happened to me.
If only I had married.If only I had married someone different.
If only I had gone back to school.
If only I had come to Christ earlier in my life.
If only my financial situation had been different.
If only I got that job.If only that had not happened to that ministry.
If only I were smarter.If only I had a different personality.
If only I had said yes.
If only I had said no.
If only I had someone to help me.
While the actions of others and our own actions have consequences, which Pascal refers to as the “dignity of causality”, there always remains the overriding principle of the sovereign work of God. Scripture makes this very clear repeatedly, but perhaps non clearer than in:
Romans 8:28 NIV “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Philippians 1:6 NIV “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
With this being true, it is unhelpful for us to spend any time in the bog of “if only.” We are better served on the solid, rich soil of “but now.”
“But now” is a key phrase for the life of a believer. Paul uses this expression throughout his epistles.
I can think of no better statement of “but now” than Gen. 50:20 when Joseph said to his brothers, who tried to destroy him, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
You see, we can say as the beloved of God:
Yes, that happened to me, but now God…
Yes, I wish I had gone back to school when I was younger, but now God…
Yes, things have been hard financially, but now God…
Yes, I have not had a lot of support, but now God…
Let’s live in the “but now God”.