If Only

“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure. . . . But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God.” 
2 Corinthians 1:8–9

In my (JCD’s) book When God Doesn’t Make Sense, I wrote about the burdensome situations in life that we can’t under‐stand. Some are painful or life‐threatening, others are simply inconvenient or uncomfortable. We know that God could eliminate these problems with a whisper, but, instead, He allows us to struggle.

Why? One of His greater purposes is to reveal His power to us. This understanding comes straight from the apostle Paul who wrote, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels [clay pots], that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7, kjv).

Instead of accepting the irritations of life, many people struggle with what I call the “if onlys.” “If only I didn’t have diabetes (or deafness or sinus infections).” “If only I were not infertile.” “If only I hadn’t gotten into that bad business relationship (or lawsuit or loveless marriage).” “If only we didn’t have a sick child.” “If only we weren’t so strapped financially.”

Are you struggling with “if onlys” today? If so, we encourage you to release them to God. He has a perfect, loving plan for all of your life— even when life seems less than ideal. We may not see why God allows hardship in our lives, but we can be assured it is part of His eternal plan for our good. He asks us to accept His love and reach in humble dependence for His sufficiency.

Just between us . . .

• Have we become discouraged by “if onlys” in our lives?
• Can we learn to depend on the Lord at this point of need? Has God been able to use our “if onlys” for His purposes?

Lord, help us rely on Your great love for us even when we feel weighed down by disappointments. Comfort and strengthen us in our need. Amen.

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Couples. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.