Maybe is the word I use when I acknowledge that something could be true, but I don’t know for sure. I’ve been using it a lot lately. Normally I use it with doubt because I’m not yet convinced.
There’s another sense of the word however. I was recently shown an interesting Bible verse, 1 Samuel 14:6:
Then Jonathan said to the young man who was carrying his armor, “Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the LORD will work for us, for the LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few.
Jonathan, the friend of David, used the word perhaps. I’m more fond of maybe. They mean the same thing anyways.
What I like about this verse is how Jonathan isn’t exactly definite that God will do things for them. You don’t say “perhaps” if you are without doubt. Part of why I struggle with faith so much is because there are instances where, from my view, God doesn’t work for me. I expect he’ll do something and it doesn’t happen. And when that happens over the course of many years, I become cynical and skeptical. I wonder if Jonathan had the same mindset. And indeed, this lack of faith applies not just to God, but to everything. I doubt things will turn out well.
I read this verse, and I relate it to my pessimism toward life, and it makes me wonder. What if I could take a little step forward from “It won’t happen” to “Maybe it’ll happen?” That would take me away from already concluding how things will go and giving up. It would take me toward entertaining better possibilities, hoping for something better, taking some more risks, and probably having better results than I currently do.
Things don’t always go right. But sometimes they do. Maybe it’s worth taking the chance, because maybe it’ll go better than I thought. I may fail but if I do, what have I really lost? Probably not much. On the other hand maybe I’ll succeed and get what I want.
So maybe my maybe’s should be more optimistic. Less of “maybe, but I wouldn’t push it.” More of, “maybe, let’s try and see what happens.”