If, Then, and But

Three simple, little words have such profound meaning in the textbook don’t they? It’s amazing what the Lord can do when He takes us to the basics of life.

I posted this picture on my work fb page one morning this week. I was hoping the reminder of simple things in life that we often overlook would help our parents through those tough days of raising special needs kiddos.

Little did I know my own special needs kiddo would be having one of those days and I would need these same reminders.

Amazing how things happen sometimes.

Shortly after I had a parent of special needs text me . . . “How do I get my child to go to school. I’m so tired . . . “

I responded, “Devices are a huge leverage in our home. IF they don’t go THEN they don’t get their devices and IF they still choose not to go THEN they have to work all day. And IF they STILL choose to not do the work THEN they don’t get any devices or privileges until the assigned chores are done.”

Little did I know once all the interruptions were over and my son was on the bus that my quiet time would take me to Proverbs 3 today. It started in verses 5 and 6 but the Holy Spirit prompted me to stay a little longer.

Throughout scripture we are taught the natural consequences of life with what I call “Ifs” and “Thens”.

Natural consequences.

We also see a LOT of “buts” in Proverbs.

In fact, my copy of scripture has the word but listed 230 times just in Proverbs alone.

What does that mean?

That means we have a turning point.

That means I know something is about to happen . . . a choice to be made . . . . a turning point . . . a change.

While scripture is full of examples of natural consequences and turning points, Proverbs is really good at just laying it in simplest forms. For me, because I had never been taught natural consequences, I started looking for the ifs and thens together. Then the Lord showed me that just because the word “If” wasn’t there doesn’t mean it isn’t implied. And the same for the word “then”. Then He started showing me the “Ifs” and “thens” in scripture that doesn’t say “if” or “then” but is implied.

But what has been amazing is to see the correlation with the word “but” throughout Proverbs.

Knowing that at any time in the direction I am going, I have a choice to make – to continue on the path I’m going or turn around and go another direction.

Life is about choices. We see that clearly in scripture. Our best laid out plans are like filthy rags when our plans aren’t laced in prayer and guided by the Holy Spirit.

I don’t know how your day started off today but I do know this, with every breath we breathe we have a choice to make . . . to keep going on the path I’m on or make a change. We don’t have to wait until tomorrow to start over. We can do that right now – regardless what time of day it is – right now – choose the right path.

Decide this moment to remove self from the equation and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you every step of the way.

For me, I have to ask Him to do that a lot.

The cool thing is, He is always there waiting one us. Always.

Lord I thank you today for grace, forgiveness, and second, third, and fourth chances. Thank you for a parents simple text of desperation that caused me to dig a little deeper and seek you harder this morning. Thank you for not giving up on me and pursuing me. Keep teaching me and growing me. Give me wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. I crave you more than ever. Use me today to speak life into another hurting woman. Amen.

(If I) Trust in the Lord with all my heart, and (If I) do not rely on my own understanding, (If I) acknowledge Him in all ways, (then) HE will make my path straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

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