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The Banks of If Only
By Bonnie Derksen

I stood on the banks of If Only.
Its waters were murky and grey.
My heart discontent and unstable;
I longed for some peace for my day.

I thought of my life as I saw it,
And wondered just why all the pain.
I looked at the others around me,
Saw only their plenty and gain.

"Oh Lord, please forgive all my musing.
I know my heart should be set free
From the tethers of weighing my life out,
While complaining 'bout all that I see.

"It seems that I'm just like the others,
Striving to follow your will,
But while on the banks of If Only
I feel like I'm walking uphill.

"My life is just not as I planned it,
Though I've asked for your help and your care.
The troubles have followed me closely.
I feel I've had more than my share."

So I stood there and thought 'Oh, if only,
I hadn't done this or done that,
Then surely my life would be better;
His blessings laid out like a mat.'


While there on the banks of If Only.
I needed to hear my Dad's voice,
For comfort and maybe an answer.
Was all this just because of a choice?

I waited, it seemed like forever.
My Lord was just not in a rush.
Then He came in the wind, like a whisper.
All nature around me was hushed.

"My daughter, your musings are normal.
I know that you question and fuss.
Remember I'm strength in your weakness.
Yes, you're right. I am not in a rush.

"I'm God in the midst of If Only.
There's nothing that happens by chance.
I've always been standing beside you.
Through both sweet and through harsh circumstance.

"While you stand on the banks of If Only
Your eyes cannot see all the good.
Even though troubled days follow closely
By my hand, they become what they should.

"Come on over and join me on this side.
It is here that my best can be seen.
For my glory, my purpose accomplished,
Will work out and my strength you will glean."

Now I stand on the banks of Surrender.
The waters are brilliant azure.
My heart is now steady and stable
Filled with peace, in His care, I am sure.

As the River of Life moves so swiftly;
As I watch how it all does unfold,
While I stand on the banks of Surrender
The blessings cannot all be told.

So when hardship and crisis now find me,
I will prove that my trust is intact.
Standing firm on the banks of Surrender
I'll look only to Jesus for fact.

BONNIE DERKSEN has been journaling her way to greater intimacy with the Lord for many years. Living in southern British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and three adult children, she has recently started exploring the world of writing. If you would like to write to Bonnie, you can do so through the Letters page of this magazine.