What might have been.

Those four words haunt me from time to time. Maybe they do you too. What if I’d stayed in that teaching job? What if I’d stood up for myself in that moment? What if I’d pursued that opportunity instead of letting it pass me by? What if this pandemic hadn’t come? Would life be better now? Would I be happier, more fulfilled?

No one can answer these questions.

In fact, going down the road of ‘what might have been’ has a way of seeping joy out of us faster than a leak in the bottom of that 44-oz. fountain drink. When this happens, I go to two comforting scriptures. I sit with them. I soak them in. I let them marinade in my mind until ‘what might have been’ gives way to who God is and what might be.

First, I tell myself: “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9, ESV). God establishes our steps. There’s no such thing as plan-A, plan-B or even plan-Z for our lives. As we seek Him, He guides and directs us. Even in the hard stuff, even in our mistakes, none of it surprises or catches Him off guard.

Second, I declare: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, ESV). All our missteps, our past struggles and regrets, God already knew they would come. He knew and promises to work them out for our good and the good of others as we continue to seek and surrender our lives to Him.

We can trust Him with our ‘what might have been.’ We can rest in His truth. And with these verses, we can rely on His promises, being assured that the path we’re on is a good path. It’s a God-designed path.

And it’s the path that will lead us to our eternal home.

*Originally published by The Joyful Life Magazine.