“IF” vs. “WHEN”

Can a person “hate” a word? Probably not.

Well? OK. Yes you can because I hate the word “ IF ”.

Think about it. How often do we use the word “IF”. 

Why, it is all the time.

And what does it signify? Up in the air; maybe; perhaps; uncertainty; who knows? If I get the job; if I don’t get the job; if I get a raise; if we get pregnant; if the loan gets approved; if I pass the test….and on and on and on.

Some will say, “well, that’s life.” And yes, it is. But, just think how that one word affects our thoughts, how we think and what we think.

On the other hand, I love the word “ WHEN ”.


A few years ago a study was done in the Netherlands on “happiness”. One of the objectives of the study was to determine the extent to which the yearly guaranteed vacation with pay, (which had become a staple of the culture in not only the Netherlands but in many other European countries), contributed to a worker’s “happiness.”

They determined that those who returned from vacation were no happier once home than non-travelers. The real difference involved the happiness in travelers before their vacations. Those anticipating a trip were notably happier before the trip than those planning to stay at home. It was the “expectation” of the holiday that most boosted the traveler’s morale.

While the vacation itself did not make a significant contribution to a worker’s happiness, the anticipation of the vacation did.

The word “ WHEN” is filled with hope….when we get there; when they arrive; when I get my degree; when we have children; when I am cancer free; when we are/or do (___whatever____).

Words matter. Which word do I use the most? “IF” or “WHEN”? Am I living an “IFFY‘ life or a “WHEN” life? Never thought about it like that before?

Welcome to the club, many haven’t. But in terms of how we think, what we think and what we believe, we all have a choice.

And it is more than interesting how word usage changes with age. In the growing years, “if” and “when” are both used almost equally. But as we begin to see our life’s accomplishments come more and more into focus, we begin to use “when” more than “if”.

And why is that? Could it be that as we age, we begin to think less and less of the inevitability of death as an “if” event but as more of a “when” event?

And in that regard, might it not also be that our use of “when” may not be filled with as much “hope” as it once did?

That need not be. If you believe in the Creator-God of the Bible, you can know and believe that there is one part of you that will live forever.

And how is that?

When God created Man, He actually created two beings. He created a physical being and a spiritual being. We have these words:

….and He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and Man became a living spirit or soul.” (Genesis 2:7)

Yes, while the physical being He created will in fact die a physical death, the spiritual being He created will live forever. Which begs the question, where will that be?

One of the most remarkable aspects of the whole creation story is that before He ever began….:

“…..assembling the dust from which He created the earth, before He marked out the foundations of the earth and before He drew the circle of the earth on the face of the deep,” (Proverbs 26-29)

“He chose and He formed you and me (Psalm 139:14-16)

And, He gave us both the freedom and the ability to not only believe that but also to accept it as that most precious of all gifts, the…..

“gift of life in Him” (Acts 17:28).

“WHEN” we choose Him and accept His gift of pardon for our sins, He will take us home with Him to live eternally…. with Him……forever.

But “ IF ” we DO NOT choose Him we will NOT live with Him forever

but with…..well, you know

IF” vs. “WHEN“.

Words matter.

OH! REALLY? Yes, they do. Hmm….