My kids love asking that question. "What if I clear the table without being asked, can I stay up later?" "What if our car could fly?" "What if I had been born with two normal feet?".
Most of the time we don't know the answers to these and it's probably not healthy to dwell too much on things we can't change. Sometimes though it's good to ask the questions. Like when my daughter wondered what would happen if she tried being really nice to her brothers for a week. We made it a homeschool science project. She was shocked at how they responded. They were nicer to her!
I was reading a book by Max Lucado the other day called Cast of Characters. When he talked about Moses he compared his time in the dessert to school. God was preparing him to lead the people. He was learning the ways of the dessert, where the good watering holes were, how to survive, what plants you can eat, and how to deal with children and families. I had never thought about it that way. God uses the hard times and things that seem bad to teach us or prepare us for the future. It's pretty plainly stated in the story of Joseph when he told his brothers "What you intended for Evil, God used for good."
I remember once when I was a youth director. There was a teen age girl who was sitting apart after worship. We could tell she was upset and had been worried about her for several weeks. My friend who was helping me with youth went with me and we sat beside her in the dim sanctuary. She was sitting on the floor so that's where we sat too, one on each side of her. As we began to talk to her, she said she could not tell us what was happening to her becuase we would not understand it. She gave us enough clues that we both understood the idea of what was happening to her. It just so happened that it was something each of us had experienced. Because we were able to tell her that and share our experiences with her, she opened up to us and told us what her step father was doing to her. She said over and over that she could never have talked to us if we had not gone through something similar. We were able to help her and more important, get the abuse stopped. I don't think that God years ago decided that my friend and I should both experience such terrible things. However, once people with free will made the decisions to hurt us, God was able to redeem that and use it for us to help someone else. So often I think God does use hard times to prepare us for what we may have to deal with in the future.
When we were first trying to adopt, there was a little boy we wanted to adopt in Russia. Some missionaries had told us about him. He had a clubbed foot and a missing foot. My first thought was that we were in a two story home, there was no way we could adopt such a child. But the missionaries talked about him so much that I researched it and found that the stairs would not be something that would deter this child. So we proceeded. I was heartbroken when I found out it was not going to work. I had been so sure that God had been opening the doors! When I finally was called to go to Russia, I was asked to travel blind. I was given a list of 9 children I could choose from. Each had a birthdate, gender and a one sentance diagnosis. Arriving in Russia and having had only a couple of hours of sleep in several days, I was asked which children I wanted to see first. I knew that I could not go through seeing lots of children. The list had some with heart conditions, some with conditions I had never heard of and three with limb differences. Wow, what a co-incidence, I had researched limb differences. (LOL, I know it was not a co-incidence, but a God-incidence) The very top child on that list was a little girl with the diagnosis of "halfs of legs". That girl is now my beautiful Paulina.
Go back and look at these posts of her dancing.
God most certainly had a plan. What if I had not stepped onto that plane in faith? What if I had not researched limb differences? I would have totally missed out.
If we had not adopted Paulina and been exposed to different limb different children, we would not have had the courage to adopt Marceli. If a domestic adoption had not fallen through, we would not have been ready to adopt Marceli. So many things. Isn't it good to know that God has all the details in hand? He has a plan and he will prepare us for each thing we will need to go through. He knows the answers to the "what if" questions.