If only you had paid attention to my commands. . . [Isaiah 48:18]

What Are “If Onlies”?

If only. Two of the saddest words in the English language.  They tell of tasks not completed, promises not kept, and rewards not realized. They hold missed opportunities, deep regrets, broken relationships, and neglected advice. What are “if onlies”? “If onlies” can be things we have done that we should not have done or things we did not do that we should have done.

If Only We Had Listened

Our biggest “if only” is often, “If only we had listened.” Those with more experience and wisdom can often save us from pain and failure by providing us the benefit of lessons they have learned. However, we must choose to heed that advice. The best advice comes from God. He says, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” [Isaiah 48:17]

God spoke to the Israelites about “if onlies.”  He said, “If only you had paid attention to my commands.” [Isaiah 48:18]

What Was Missed?

What did they miss out on by not listening?

  • Peace like a river
  • Well-being
  • Lineage – family, children, descendants like grains of sand

Our progeny, prosperity, and peace stem from obedience to God. And though God could have utterly destroyed the Israelites for their disobedience, He did not. He redeemed them for the sake of His name and for His glory. He redeemed them to show He is God, and He is the One with the best and only plan.

Don’t Live with If Only

God has also redeemed us! Through the blood of Jesus and His sacrificial death, God has redeemed the lives of those who accept His Lordship. He also redeems our “if onlies.” God directs our paths; He even redirects when we get off track.

We don’t have to live with “if onlies.” When we listen to God, we can live lives full of peace, prosperity, and protection surrounded by family and all the blessings that come with obedience to God.  Give Him all your ”if onlies.”

What do you do with your “if onlies?” How do you handle them?