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  • Mick Schatz

The shadow of “what if?”

ROSCOMMON – The great philosopher, Jimmy Buffett, released a song in the late 70’s called Volcano. The hook of the song had these words - “I don’t know where I’m a gonna go when the volcano blows!”

According to Wikipedia “the album and its title song are named for the then dormant Soufrière Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat in the British West Indies where Buffett recorded the album in May 1979 at AIR Studios.” Ironically the studio was severely damaged when the Volcano erupted in 1995 further bolstering the notoriety of the song. I remember hearing my dad sing or hum the chorus quite often as I was growing up, and of course, it got stuck in my head and my own kids have had to endure me singing it.

Over the last 20 years of my life the big “what if” in the chorus of the song has resonated louder and louder in my mind. “What if” the Volcano blows? “What if” my health or my wife’s health goes bad? “What if” the economy tanks? “What if” my kids make poor life choices? “What if, What if, What if”?!?

Unfortunately, it’s easy as a husband, dad, or pastor to get caught-up in listening to the broken record of “What if”. It seems every arena in my life can cause worries to play in my mind and sometimes become louder than reality. I imagine if you’re reading this you have experienced or do experience this to some degree.

Reality is we will always be inundated with worries, fears, and anxieties. “The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional” –Max Lucado.

God never intended for our lives to be ruled by anxiety and “What if”. The apostle Paul explains this in Philippians 4:6-7

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Paul is giving us some practical steps we can take to avoid being a prisoner of worry and anxiety - talk to God, ask for help, and thank Him for His help and presence in our lives.

The promise of God’s supernatural peace is His protection for us against the onslaught of fear and worry. How awesome is that! Peace instead of anxiousness! All I have to do is set my eyes on Him and not the specter of “What if”. So what if the Volcano blows?



Mick Schatz serves on the staff of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. He is the State Director of Spiritual Enrichment and Retreats and lives at Bambi Lake.


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