In one way or another, many of us are “living in the ‘woulds’.” Consider the things some would do if they could. Beyond all the evil that is actually done, think how much more harm would be wrought if men dared or were not prevented. We quote figures on crime and juvenile delinquency, but no one knows how many more would do the same things if they thought they could get away with it. The depravity of the human heart is far deeper than statistics reveal; it boils up in thought and intention and desire. He who looks upon a woman in lust has committed adultery already in his heart. He would hates brother is a murderer. This is “living in the ‘woulds.’ ”
It works the other way. Paul would have visited the Thessalonian believers, but Satan hindered him. Some would have gone to the mission field, but could not. It was in their hearts to go and in God’s sight they really went. “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not” (II Corinthians 8:12). What would you do if you could?
Of course, some could if they would. God had to overcome the reluctance of Moses and Jeremiah who were unduly modest and timid before their duty. We can do anything we ought to do. It is as wrong to underrate as to overrate ourselves when God calls us. To say that two and two make three is as wrong as to say two and two make five.