Old Meeting House Congregational Church (1643)

The Best Hidden Church in Norwich

Not if but how


I recently came across the story of a businessman, who after 30 years of hard work because of a crooked colleague lost his business. He was a Christian man and told his pastor his story. The Pastor had expected him to be full of bitterness but to his surprise he told the Pastor that he had found his assets to be much greater than his liabilities.

“All I had 30 years ago was £50. I’m ahead of that now,” he said with a grin. “I started with a wonderful wife, and I still have her, thank God. Now I have £500 and I’m way ahead on experience too!”

Within a year after this setback he had started a new business and was doing well. But the statement he made that really stayed with the Pastor was this:

“I decided that I would not be an if thinker,” he said, “but a how thinker.”

That’s really quite a thought-provoking distinction. The if thinker broods over a difficulty or a setback, saying to himself, “If only I had done thus and so…If only this or that circumstance had been different…If others had not treated me so unfairly…” So it goes from explanation to explanation, round and round, getting nowhere. The world is full of defeated if thinkers.

The how thinker, on the other hand, wastes no energy on post-mortems when trouble or even disaster hits them, but immediately starts looking for the best solution, for they know there always is a solution. They asks themselves, “How can I use this setback creatively? How can I work something good out of it?

The how thinker gets problems solved effectively because they know that value is always inherent in difficulty. They waste no time with futile ifs but go right to work on the creative how.

The next time trouble strikes you, stay away from the word if. Focus on the dynamic word how, then ask for God’s help to put know-how into the how. You will be amazed at how quickly your difficulties will be resolved. 


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