The Power of "IF"

IF often gets a bad wrap, as in weak and indecisive; but there is a powerful flip side that is hopeful, adventurous, and even optimistic. IF can be the spark that ignites ideas, dreams, and the impossible. IF can also be a retardant that douses hopes, imprisoning the mind.

My paternal grandfather, at 17, believed he could make a difference in WWI, and he did, coming home a wounded war hero. My maternal grandfather, who left home in his early teens, believed he could succeed at farming, even though he had no formal education. He succeeded, owning two farms at one point.

My father believed he could earn an education while working full-time and raising a family. He taught 36 years and earned a postgraduate degree. My mother believed she could manage the home and family and raise my three sisters and me. (Raising me took a lot of IF’s and courage!) My father-in-law believed he could become a pastor as well as a missionary evangelist with a pilot’s license. My mother-in-law believed she could become an RN long after her kids were raised.

Although the stories above are true and heartwarming, failure is part of life! Failures can outnumber our successes no matter how hard we try. Some of our most rewarding successes can come at our weakest moments. Success can come when we learn not only from our failures but also from the failures of others.

Tracing some important IF’s in my life… What IF my grandfather hadn’t come home from the war? What IF my parents hadn’t met? What IF a missionary hadn’t come to my parents’ door? What IF I hadn’t married Sue? Our lives are a composite of successes and failures. What are the IF’s in your life for which you are most thankful?

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries
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