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If I Knew Then…

questionCan you finish that title’s statement?

I’m sure you’ve heard it, “If I knew then what I know now…” The thought behind it is that what you know now would have helped you back then or you would have avoided certain things altogether.

A statement after a long, arduous hike described in this week’s chapter of Fight Back with Joy by Margaret Feinberg has sparked in me a pondering. The group hiked various lengths and through varying treacherous conditions, and this was the statement,

“If I had known how challenging this hike was going to be, I never would have gone.”

I think about my wife and our struggles with infertility, but how it led to foster care and adoption and a general sense of needing to stand up for kids who have no voice. None of it has been easy. If I had known the challenges going in would I have played it safe?

Then I think about the joy in our lives through three adoptions. I think about others we’ve shared our story with who have become foster parents and/or adoptive parents and our dream to see this happen to a greater degree.

Challenges then joy. Challenges then joy. There’s a pattern.

Joy is costly, and the grace of God conceals both the challenges and the joys when you are bid to “follow Me.” Jesus didn’t lay out a road map for the disciples, and He doesn’t for us either. If you knew the challenges going in, you would probably wonder if the joy would be enough to make up for it.

Sitting here typing this, I am humbled and so incredibly thankful I said yes and followed–in this particular area and others. I’m also looking at the giant challenges we are currently facing and feeling great hope. The joy He set before us will be worth it.

I don’t fully understand it all or know what it will look like, but there will be joy.

And of course there are challenges! He calls each of us to take steps into enemy territory and take ground for His kingdom. Satan may be a defeated foe, but if can get you to back off, he will try. In the midst of those hardships, He sets joy before you.

The biggest myth about joy is that it only flourishes in good times, or that it is only the byproduct of positive experiences… Life’s thorniest paths can lead to great joy. –Margaret Feinberg, Fight Back with Joy

Thank God I didn’t know the challenges because I’m sure I would have run. Thank God there is grace to keep standing. Thank God at the end of the difficulties He can’t wait to show us greater joy.

If I knew then what I know now, I would like to believe I would have still followed Him.

What do you think about this? Have you experienced this? How have some of your own negative experiences led to a revelation of joy?

fbwj-buttonWelcome to week 5 of our discussion of Fight Back with Joy (disclosure) by Margaret Feinberg. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. If you have a response on your blog, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts and the widget to add your post. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!


  1. The joy that I discovered/that found me through the valleys are what allowed me to climb the mountains.

    • Each one prepares you for the next. Amen! Thanks Dusty.

  2. I’ve asked myself that question a time or two when things got rough and I always came up with “Yes, I would. I might do some things differently which would change the consequences of my actions, but without a doubt I would follow Him.”
    Bill (cycelguy) recently posted..IdolatryMy Profile

    • So true. There are always things we could probably learn more quickly or accept more readily to speed the process, but His joy and where He leads is a beautiful place. Thank you, Bill!

  3. Jason, what a wonderful testament you are to others in your willingness to obey and step out in a leap of faith during such a trying time. Those children are a blessing, and you a blessing to them!
    Margaret Feinberg recently posted..Why Won’t God Answer My Prayers?My Profile

    • Thanks so much, Margaret. Blessings to you for sharing your journey.

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