In the aftermath of catastrophic loss, it is natural to speculate, to retrace the preceding events, to root around in the morass known as, What if?
What if I had called or texted her an hour earlier?
What if I had not left him alone?
What if the doctor had not been negligent?
What if I had gotten him to the hospital sooner?
What if I had paid closer attention to all the warning signs?
What if she had turned right instead of left?
What if, just before the crash, I went over to look at the work Hans did on his car and said hello, instead of hurrying to the house to wrap his birthday presents?
What if, [insert one of a million possibilities]?
Would things have turned out differently? Would my child still be alive?
In the first weeks after Hans left us, I replayed the whole sequence of events leading up to the crash over and over, looking for a way to make it not to have happened. How crushing it was to fail over and over again and have my boy end up dead once more.
Being preoccupied with What if? does not help us and cannot change the outcome. What happened to your child may not be good, but God is good and, since He operates out of love, from an eternal perspective and with perfect wisdom, we can depend on Him to always do or allow what is best. He has all variables and possibilities under His control.
To have anything near a sense of peace regarding the question of What if? we must let go of the hypothetical. There is no end to the alternate scenarios we can imagine on a sleepless night. Instead of trying to orchestrate a replacement reality, one where everything turns out alright, we must submit to not having the answers we seek. We must rest in the fact that we will understand it all when we see the Lord.
We must let it go.
We cannot, in this life, have full and satisfying answers to What if? questions. The answers are elusive because they are infinite. Every shift in circumstances causes a chain reaction of new variables. There are no answers to What if? because it is a question that seeks to reconcile events and contingencies that did not happen. Even if God gave us the answers, we could not comprehend them. And we would still miss our children. They would still be gone.
Give the What if?s over to God for safe keeping. They are too heavy for you to carry. In time He will make His purposes known.
He loves you and He’s got it all worked out.