“It could have been” are perhaps the four saddest words in the English lexicon. The older I get, the more I see potential wasted and moments not seized. Speaking directly to my fellow Pastors, we live at the crossroads of “may be” and “could have been.” It is a life a death struggle that we live firsthand every day, not just in our own lives but also in those around us.
2020-2021 have been very difficult for, well, the world. Yet, there is a life-giving aspect here. We can’t control it. I try not to worry about what I cannot control. Admittedly that can be difficult at times. In these moments, our enemy, Satan, is there to discourage us and make us feel abandoned. He always likes to point the finger at God. Let’s be honest. We do too.
Statistics say that the seventh year of ministry is usually the most fruitful. Yup, you guessed it. My seventh year was 2020. The year of pandemic. The year of shut-down. The year of little to no growth as opposed to great growth. Now growth is a relative thing. Where I could easily look at what could have been, I can also see what was. Our church is experiencing the most powerful move of the Spirit I’ve ever been a part of. Sometimes, your “could have been” even develops into what is.
As difficult as 2020 was, 2018 was much harder for me. I thought I could control things that went in a direction I did not plan. It was personal. It hurt. It was the most challenging year I ever lived through. Three years later, I occasionally find my mind fixated on what could have been. It is easy to fall into that rabbit hole. If we are not careful, we never find our way back out. We descend into a life of self-pity, anger toward those around us, and perhaps most dangerous of all, anger at God. Which, of course, is what Satan wants. Now, I am just stubborn enough to not give him that satisfaction.
Could 2018 have turned out different, yes? It certainly could have been easier on me, but it wasn’t. I had choices that had to be consciously made coming out of that. Questions I asked myself and sought answers to. Do I trust God? Yes! Is God still in charge? Yes! Will He build His Kingdom? Yes! Am I God? No! Will I live in the “could have been” of the “may be”? The “may be” always brings a sense of hope to us.
Pastor, you may not know exactly what you are going through or why, but you do know that God is on your side. He never said it would be easy. In fact, He warned us of how hard it could be. I challenge you, do not allow yourself to live in the “land of could have been.” Satan wants nothing more than to make your life and ministry ineffective. This path will lead you there. Have faith and remember that God is in control. I do not understand all that He is doing. Let’s be honest. At times I don’t understand anything He is doing. That’s why He is God, and I am not.
Live a life of may be. That brings hope in a hopeless world. Your faithful God will uphold you and guide you. If you let Him, He will also keep you from living in the “land of could have been.”