In the rippling wake cut by the momentum of a new year, our minds wander more than usual. First we look back, reflecting on the year we’ve just left behind. Next we flick our gaze upstream, testing future waters like a fisherman planted waist deep in the current of time.

We imagine the future flowing ever toward us. As it comes, we populate hundreds of “What ifs?” with people, scenarios, outcomes, and emotional currency.

What if my marriage keeps getting worse?

What if I’m stuck in the same dead-end job?

What if that rogue lump turns out to be cancer?

They come so easily, don’t they—the negative what-ifs. It’s harder to choose the hopeful path:

What if my marriage gets filled to overflowing?

What if my job becomes purposeful and powerful?

What if God heals me or uses this trial to lead someone to Christ?

What we fail to realize is that for most good things to take shape in the real world, they must first be embraced by the imagination, chosen by the mind, prophesied by the mouth. Not fully, not completely, not perfectly, but perhaps glimpsed from the corner of our mind’s eye. Hope can draw strength from scraps and crumbs, if necessary. But each crumb of hope is pure plutonium. In Christ, our what-ifs become kingdom builders.

So go on. Ask God to give you his heart, his mind, his will. Next, make a list of ten What-ifs that aim you higher than you’ve aspired before. Then write out each faith statement, all ten of them.

Yes, ten. Take your time.

When you’re done, step back and ask yourself, one what-if at a time: If this thing were to actually happen, what would be the first thing about me that I would notice in the change?

I mean about you, not about others or your situation. You. What would be the first signal that something had begun to change in you?

Take the marriage what-if for example: What if your marriage gets filled to overflowing? Wow, right? Now, what would be the first thing about you that you’d notice in that change? Maybe you’d be more affectionate, for example.

Perfect. Start there. Do it. Be more affectionate. Like, today right after work.

What?

Just do it. See it, do it, pray, and watch what God can do with a faith-filled what-if.

C’mon. What if… this helps?

What if?