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  • Toni Wilbarger

What Could Have Been


Sometimes on gloomy days I sit and wonder what could have been. What if that visiting college professor had accepted me into his novel writing class? I could have been a nationally known novelist by now. What if I had moved away from home? I could have been more knowledgeable about other cities and had more to write about. What if I had decided to have children? I could have been a grandmother by now.


I've played this little game so many times and in so many ways it would make your head spin. But let's throw another "what if" into the mix, but this time with a twist. In my life, it might go like this.


What if I'd ridden home with the girl who was drinking and driving?

I could have been severely wounded or even killed.


What if I'd stayed when my college roommate's friends broke out the drugs and offered some to me?

I could have been addicted, broke, or cut off from my family.


What if I'd accepted the advice of those who told me I shouldn't be a writer?

I could have been a bored, frustrated, forklift driver by now (no offense to forklift drivers).


Truth is, God was there all along guiding and nudging me toward the person He created me to be. The "could have beens" highlighting my perceived failures are part of the bigger picture that also includes the "could have beens" that may have resulted in a much darker, more difficult life. Even now, as I wade through gloomy days I tend to forget that God is still in control of my situation. What looks hopeless to me may be the one thing God uses to make my life better.


We cannot see our future. We don't have the foresight to know how God will turn our hopeless todays into our joyful tomorrows. All we can do is remind ourselves of what the prophet Jeremiah wrote, "For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)


I've decided it's time for me to spend less time dwelling on what could have been and more time praising God for what will be and looking forward to His plans for my life.


What about you? How did your "could have beens" turn out better than you planned? Can you see where God steered you out of your bad choices and into something better?


Until next time,


Toni




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