Day 38 Supplement
In Chapter 38 of Rediscover Jesus, Matthew shares a what-if letter written by his friend.
What if it is all true? What if everything Jesus talks about in the Gospels is true?
What if we really do need to account for the life we have lived? What if heaven and hell do exist, the joy of eternity with God and the eternal weeping of separation from him? Life, death, heaven, hell, God, eternity, good and evil—what if it all is real?
Recently a friend shared a “What If?” letter that he had written and given to each of his children and their spouses at their Thanksgiving dinner. He was gracious enough to allow me to include it here.
Dear Amy, Bruce, Emily, Katie, Ryan, and Andrew,
Have you ever stopped to wonder, “What if it’s all true?” What do I mean by that? Well, I’m talking about everything that Jesus said, revealed, and fulfilled! We have heard it, listened to it, even from time to time have thought about it. Well, over the last year in particular I have been thinking about it a lot. It is a thought that will not leave me. I think that it is so “present in thought” to me because my Heavenly Father wants me to come to grips with it.
What does it really mean if it is ALL true? This much I know: If it is (and it is), then I can never be the same again. Not just one part of my life, not just an aspect here or there, but everything about me is forever to be changed. I can never be the same again.
Now, whoa, wait a minute—that is a pretty strong statement. That’s right, it is. You see, I have come to understand that we have all spent our lives—at least those who even give God a moment in their thoughts and perhaps in their actions—hedging our bets. What do I mean by that? Well, we want to believe everything that Jesus says is true, but just to make sure, I am still going to put myself first sometimes just to make sure I have a good time now and that I am going to be taken care of. I am not saying that we are not to be responsible for ourselves, particularly in providing for life’s necessities. The last thing we are to do is be irresponsible. What I do mean is caring for me is not an end in itself, but rather a launching pad to enable me to first and foremost care for those God has placed on the path before me.
If I spend my life preoccupied with me and my own happiness, I will live life missing the deepest joy that God has for me.
When you stop, when you come to understand and deeply believe that this is only the beginning of our eternal walk with God our Father, everything is different. Different instantly, different forever. You are overwhelmed with the beautiful, deep, joyful, and penetrating peace that comes from knowing that you are home today and forever. Fear is gone forever. You are like a ship that travels along a coast of endless safe harbors. Storms may come, but the harbor is always moments away.
I use the analogy of a ship because our new home with Christ, our new state of being, does not reside within four walls; on the contrary, it travels with us wherever we go. We have all been “dragged up from the deep” and have been set to sail into the wind, but from the safety of a ship that cannot be overcome by storm, famine, fear, anxiety, hunger, cold, loneliness, and despair. It is a ship ever on a new adventure, but simultaneously anchoring in a safe harbor, being constantly provisioned.
You have but one Captain, your Father, who is the Creator and Lover of all. He is not “like” a Father; he is your Father. He is more truly your Father than I can ever be. This is a defining difference, which is the foundation of all that is true. Your faith in the saving grace of Christ is a game-changer. Live in full son-ship and daughter-ship and receive the fullness of his love and constant care for you. He is your real Father every moment and beyond all time.
This new Captain under which you live and serve is like no other because he sends you forth in new freedom—a freedom that sets you free to do what you ought to do. To sail where you ought to sail. To explore and enjoy what you ought to explore and enjoy. It is your hands on the wheel, but he is ever present and at your side as long as you invite him to direct you. Draw courage, strength, and hope from him. He is the farthest thing from a puppeteer. He is the truest friend any of us will ever know.
So, what if it is all true? How would that change the way you approach life today and in all your tomorrows? How would it impact the choices you make and the goals you pursue?
You are each at different junctures in your lives, as are your spouses and your children. Where will your adventure take you, and how will you go forth? Will you be like Peter, hedging your bet and looking at the storm-tossed waves? Or will you choose to see only the outstretched hand of Jesus? A hand that will never let you down. “What sort of man is this that even the winds and seas obey him?” (Matthew 8:27)
In the end it is a choice, an individual choice to be made every day and every hour. But it is always the same question: “Is it true, every bit of it?”
Make the decision.
I’d like to suggest two exercises. First, write a what-if letter to yourself. Second, write a what-if letter to someone in your life. You may decide to write to your children. You may decide to write to your parents. You may decide to write to an old college roommate, a friend from a job you used to have, or someone who crossed your path recently or long ago.
Some people will ignore such a letter. But for others it will be a life-altering moment.