This past weekend my husband and I traveled to western New York for my first in-person speaking engagements since the pandemic began. (I’ve only been doing Zoom events so it was a little more work figuring out what pair of nice pants to wear 🙂 )
While in the area, we had the joy of worshipping with the little Baptist church where Ralph was ordained and first pastored.
I was only 21 when we moved to Franklinville and the wonderful church ladies taught me how to bake. Pie crusts made with an electric mixer. Apple pie served with a slice of NY State sharp cheddar. And pecan pie sweetened with locally made maple syrup.
On Sunday we visited with our very dear friend, Conrad (nicknamed “Toad”), who was the head of the pulpit committee which called us to that church in 1975. He’s still has his delightful sense of humor in spite of deep grief over the recent loss of Dot, his wife of 59 years, whom he lovingly cared for through many years of dementia.
We reminisced over lunch about the trials they had faced.
We remembered Dot’s frightening ectopic pregnancy and arrival at the ER with no vital signs . Miraculously, she survived.
“That was the greatest miracle I ever had, but why didn’t God heal her this time?” my friend asked.
We recalled the devastating car accident that took the life of his middle son, while his critically injured youngest boy miraculously recovered.
“Why didn’t Rick get spared, too?” Toad wondered aloud.
He knows there are no satisfying answers to his tough questions and I certainly didn’t attempt to provide any. Instead I affirmed him for continuing to love, trust, and serve God– even if His actions didn’t always make sense.
The prophet Daniel’s friends, Shadrach, Meschach,, and Abednego–ordered to be burned alive for refusing to worship the Babylonian king–understood the power of “even if.”
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18
The prophet Habakkuk also understood the power of those two small words.
“Even if the fig tree does not blossom and there are no grapes on the vines,
If the olive trees fail to give fruit and the fields produce no food,
If the flocks die far from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls;
Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me!” Habakkuk 3:17-18
The theme of “even if” trust is a common one in scripture.
Psalm 27:10 “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.”
1 Peter 3:14 “But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it.”
Philippians 2:17 “But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God…”
Psalm 139:11 “Even if I am afraid and think to myself, ‘There is no doubt the the darkness will swallow me,’…You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes.”
And finally, this amazing promise from our Heavenly Father in Isaiah 54:10:
“Even if the mountains heave up from their anchors, and the hills quiver and shake,
I will not desert you. You can rely on My enduring love;
My covenant of peace will stand forever.”
Never doubt the power of “even if.”
I love this song’s message SO much: “Even If” by Mercy Me–it’s only about 4 minutes long.