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What if?

Pat Westwell meditates on the hope of the gospel

This article was published in the January to April 2024 edition of Rapport magazine.

Great Longstone is a lovely village and the pace of life here is in marked contrast to the – often – treadmill of existence in the Thames valley where we lived for twenty-three years. Encounters there were of the ‘Can’t stop! I’ll catch up with you later’ variety, whereas here there is time to talk. However, increasingly in the village of late, conversations are punctuated with ‘Did you see the news? Isn’t it terrible?’ It leaves one feeling despairing, helpless, wondering what is happening to our world? I found the words WHAT IF running through my head. I took a blank sheet of paper, wrote them down and this is what followed:

Just two words on a blank page.

Where might they take us?

How might they change us?

Every life is a journey, has a story to tell.

And stories should have happy endings.
But it’s not so. The stories that we hear now,

the images that we see, tell of a pain-filled,
troubled world.

So WHAT IF … WHAT IF … there is just one story we have yet to hear?

WHAT IF there is a God who cares? Who cared enough for his world that he came to share it.

Share it completely, no half measures.

Who becomes a helpless babe, then grows to be a man whose name is JESUS.

A storyteller with roughened hands, those of a carpenter who heals the sick,

loves the outcast, whose words speak truth into the hearts of those who hear them.

No falsehood here! He is THE truth!

A God who reached out then and now to those seeking an answer.

The world has slammed the door in the face of love, gone its own sinful, selfish way

on a road that leads where?
To destruction and death.

It needs rescuing!

It needs saving!

So, this Jesus takes the sin of the world with its greed and loveless acts,

takes the punishment we deserve on his own shoulders. And he dies on a cross to save us.

The sinless one dies for us sinners.

This act of selfless love gives us the answer,

the answer to that WHAT IF question, and the story ending that we long for.

To know that death is not the end,
but a new beginning!

For his mighty power overcame death.
He left behind an empty tomb, rising to life again –
Eternal life!

This is our story. We are forgiven sinners! What must we do? How should we respond?

Jesus stands waiting outside the door of our lives. We have only to reach out, and


Pat Westwell

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