The term “When” lifts with confidence – while “If” conveys uncertainty…

I have decided to post this short article because there are so many with “hands that hang low” and “feeble knees” (Doctrine and Covenants 81:5), and to be true disciples of Christ we must do as he did – always lifting, always giving hope, confidence and strengthening the faith of others.  Can we really do this if we express or live with our own doubt within our hearts? D&C 6:36 reads, “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.” Can we really do this if to others by word or deed we are communicating “if” instead of “when?”  As parents we recognize the priceless value of expressing our unwavering confidence in our own children – and that principle is no less true or effective as we do so with others around us.

This means so much to me because in my life both personally and professionally the expressions of confidence, of “when,” have been more powerful and uplifting than there are words to express.

The Power of When


We knew to watch for the hand of the Lord in our lives, since His influence was not a matter of if but of when.

My husband’s illness came on suddenly. One morning he was cutting the lawn, and the next thing we knew he was falling ill. By the next day he was on life support. As we moved from the emergency room to the operating room, one of the doctors spoke of if they would be able to save him.

Because the illness he contracted was rare, he had a slim chance of survival. I couldn’t believe the dramatic turn of events. I felt overcome with despair.

Thankfully, Pierre made it through his first surgery and was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). There would be a long road ahead, but his chances improved with each passing hour. The first of many nurses spoke to me the morning after the initial surgery. She talked about when Pierre made it to the next step of the treatment. I paused with the impact of that word. There was so much more hope in when than if—it communicated confidence, expectancy. I thanked her for the choice of word, and she smiled knowingly.

Pierre received many priesthood blessings, which provided great encouragement. We knew to watch for the hand of the Lord in our lives, since His influence was not a matter of if but of when. Every time Pierre’s health became dangerously fragile, I reminded him of the blessings and that we needed to demonstrate our faith in the Lord. This was a sacred journey, and each day was a gift.

The hope of when kept us positive. However, 18 days into the journey, things went terribly wrong. During the seventh surgery, his doctors determined that the disease was too widespread. The medical team tearfully expressed their sorrow as they told me that Pierre would not survive the night.

I was able to be with my eternal companion as he passed through the veil. We were blessed to have his only living child from a previous marriage on the phone to relay the love that he had for his father. Pierre passed peacefully.

Weeks later, at his graveside, words of comfort came from Mosiah 2:41: “Ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, … if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness” (emphasis added).

Pierre and I had always determined that the if in that scripture would be awhen for us. We knew that by staying committed to our covenants, we would be reunited—it was a question only of when. We trust in the Lord’s plan of eternal families and eternal life. It’s the power of when that keeps us moving forward.

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10 thoughts on “The term “When” lifts with confidence – while “If” conveys uncertainty…

  1. i like your pest , i come to read it after your invitation on the blog of the mentallyinfused , it’s nice how that your faith help you to overcome suffuring but if you read in my blog you will see that i’m not a person of religion , i used to be but i’m not anymore , actually totaly in the opposite side of you religion used to grow doubt and fair in my heart , so in my case it would not be a matter of when

      • i used to be muslim , but also in islam , people belive in jesus and Moes , i have read the bible since i was 12. and my best writer is” Jobran khalil Jobran” who is a christian . Religion is about following instruction written in a book, no matter if you want to do it ,or it look like you . if you don’t pray you go to hell no matter if you want to pray or not .you have to ( you are obliged) ,there is no i want to . that particular detail make me in doubt about what i want and what i have to do . i was always afraid of myself if i do what i want will i harm others , will i be like the god want me to be ??? and million of similar questions ., you know for example sex without mariage is forbidden , but what if i’m not ready to get married and i still have the need to do it ?? i just gives an example of many other , and i apologize if i destruct your expectation , i appreciate that you want to help

      • Please no need to apologize – honesty is the best starting place. I certainly can understand that feeling of “obligation” instead of “desire” or “i want to”. I lived with that for most of my life. Did everything because it was expected of me, not because i felt it in my heart. I wanted to feel what i heard others say they felt, but i didn’t…then things changed.

        I believe that spirituality and religion are two sides of the same coin. Religion is God’s contribution – he provides religion as the framework and to give us direction to happiness and to return home. I believe Spirituality is our contribution – and religion provides the framework within which we can experience, grow and exercise our spirituality as it matures.

        Of course, all of that is based on one critical fact – That i KNOW that God lives (there is overwhelming evidence of Him) and that I am His child – His son. Once that witnessed is received from Him – and He will ALWAYS give it to those who seek it sincerely – then that is when things changed for me.

        I guess its like falling in love with someone. Once you fall in love, it brings those natural desires to care for them, help them, love them as an action not a word, and even to please them or make them happy. Once I found my love for God and for my Savior (without whom i would be lost forever) then came my “I want to” instead of “I’m obligated” feelings – and once those came, my entire being changed. I cannot put into words the peace, calm, and joy/happiness He has given to me – nothing in this world can compare to those feelings i find every day now.

        But before that change happened – I felt much like you and it was frustrating, discouraging and i even felt lost. The worst part was no matter how much I tried to find happiness in MY DECISIONS, i was always left feeling empty. Everything was shallow – until I recognized my spirit, and its need for nourishment and above all – the healing power of the Atonement.

      • I only share that because I feel for what you are feeling – you deserve to feel the peace without the “obligation” – I hope you know that it is possible to have that.

      • You’re very welcome. Do me a favor? Follow my blog…you never know but something I post might be of help to you – and please know that He knows you, knows your fears, your hurts, your deepest desires – and He loves you unconditionally. 🙂

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