What if? It’s a common question we ask ourselves when we try to make sense out of our circumstances. As we contend with anxiety or uncertainty, we often assume the worst will happen. If I catch a cold, what if it turns into the flu? If my employer announces budget cuts, what if I get laid off? If I get into an accident, what if my insurance is inadequate? Even though it is said that 95 percent of the things we worry about never happen, we intuitively swerve to a negative bias.
The Chinese talk about “mountains beyond mountains, heavens beyond heavens” 山外有山、天外有天 in referring to the mysterious order of the universe. No matter how high a mountain you climb, there is always a higher mountain in the distance. No matter how much you see when looking up into the heavens, there is always a heaven beyond. In essence, this wisdom reminds us we are not the center of the universe, and there is something much greater than ourselves that somehow maintains the order of the cosmos.
At the last supper, Jesus said to his apostles, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places…I go and prepare a place for you…that where I am you also may be” (John 14:2-3). With full knowledge that he would be crucified the next day, Jesus still comforted the apostles by saying that everything will be all right. There is a mansion awaiting each of us. To calm our troubled hearts, Jesus told us that we need only keep our faith in God.
"Come, let us climb to the house of the God of Jacob" (Isaiah 2:3). When we answer this call and turn to Jesus, we receive the peace and understanding that God has a greater plan. He is a timeless God, and he is already in our tomorrows awaiting us. He knew what would happen in our lives before it happened, and he knows how it will work out. Rather than focusing on that mountain before us, or that obstacle that seems as impossibly large as the skies, we can confidently turn to our God who is already well beyond our problems calling us forward for our just reward.
This photo of the mountains was taken at dusk at the tea farm in Qiaohe Village in the Three Gorges region.