I live in fear of “what if.“ You may not know that. But it’s true.
What if the other shoe drops. Regardless of how many times I’ve done it right, what if I do the paperwork wrong this time. What if the siren right after Nancy leaves for work is because of an accident.
Some people who read these words have no idea what I’m talking about. But you? I bet you do.
Here’s the thing. Trouble does happen.
Danger happens, death happens, struggles happen, famine happens, failure happens. The occupational hazard of being a hospital chaplain, the occupational hazard of being a human, is being aware that the kind of things we fear might happen often actually do happen to someone somewhere.
And they happened to Jesus, too.
Paul’s text for communion starts, “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread; and when he had blessed it, he broke it. and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’”
It was not a night for what if. He would be betrayed. He would be abandoned. He would be beaten. He would be shamed. He would be mocked. He would be killed.
And yet, it did not separate him from the love of God. His life was the love of God. And as he knew it was going to happen, he prepared his disciples with a meal that would remind them that he loved them even as their actions were about to fall short of their words.
Sometimes we inflict stories on people. “If Jesus did it, you can too.” “Jesus endured this, you should be happy.” That’s not helpful.
And yet, even as all the things that could happen do happen, they don’t separate us from the presence, and more, the love of God.
I do not always understand that. I sometimes don’t feel it. But as I worry about “what if”, I don’t need to wonder, “what if God stops loving me.”