In loving memory of my dear cousin and friend, Catina, who went home to be with the Lord, April 20, 2020. Thanks Catina for showing me what it truly means to have defiant hope and an “Even If” testimony.
On Resurrection Sunday, I listened to a very powerful message preached by Pastor Bryan Jarrett at Northplace Church in Sachse, TX. The title was “Defiant Hope”. He talked about how biblical hope is different than the typical hope of the world. Pastor Jarrett defined such hope by saying, “This kind of hope infuses us with poise, confidence, and stability in the face of uncertainty and sufferings.” He went on to say, “The life of a true believer isn’t defined by momentary struggles or pain…our lives are anchored in the sovereign goodness, justice, and control of God.” As I listened, two words stuck out to me, “Even If”. There is a song by Mercy Me called “Even If.”
The chorus of the song says:
I know You’re able and I know You can,
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand.
But even if You don’t,
My hope is You alone.
Every time I hear this song, I ask the Lord to give me an “even if” praise. An “even if” praise is a declaration that regardless of what happens in my life, I will resolve to praise Him. I must admit it isn’t always my initial response. Lately, my heart has been extremely heavy. I have been overtaken by the amount of suffering that is taking place around us. Someone that I love very much is battling cancer. Although she remains steadfast in her faith and so do we, there are times that I find myself wishing I could take the pain away. I wish I could touch her and instantly give her relief. I wish I could transfer my physical strength to her and make her all better but I am not capable of doing so. The only thing I can do is pray for her, love, comfort, and support her. However, that isn’t enough for me and often leaves me feeling like I am not doing enough.
There are several people close to me that are dealing with major things in their lives. I often struggle with the pain they are feeling or finding the words to encourage them. As a result, my faith is shaken momentarily because the human side of me pangs for a solution that I am not able to provide them. There are days when I have left their presence in tears only to come home and cry out to the Lord on their behalf. Life can be so unfair. Yet, we are expected to forge ahead.
Let’s revisit Pastor Jarrett’s earlier comments. He characterizes the life of a true believer by not being defined by momentary struggles or pain. He goes on to say that our lives should be anchored in all that God is and capable of. We are supposed to have an “even if” type of faith. A faith that says, “Yes Lord, I know what I have prayed for but “even if” you don’t do it, I’ll trust you.” I am always reminded of the prayer I prayed besides my dying grandmother’s bed 3 years ago. I asked God to heal her but if He didn’t to please let her go easy. He answered the latter part of that prayer. Was that the ending I favored? No. Could He have healed her instantly? Yes. Did He? No. Don’t get me wrong. I would have loved for her to still be here with us today. However, the moment she took her last breath, I broke out into an “even if” praise. In my heartache, I found my hope in Him and that He knew what was best for her.
Question: What will we do if our loved one dies? What will we do if we lose that job on which we worked so hard for? What will we do if we find ourselves lying on our bed of affliction or staring in the face death? What will we do if all others forsake us and we find ourselves alone? Will, we still praise Him “even if”…?
Lord, help us to be like Job in Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” Help us to trust that you are our Father, our Good Father, who knows what’s best for us and loves us with an everlasting love. Help it to be well with our souls even when it isn’t well in or around us. Give us the strength to be like Job in 14:14, “I will wait all the days of my struggle until my change and release will come.” Lord, instill in us the type of faith shown by the Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace in Daniel 3:16-18 which reads, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” May we have an unshakeable faith and allegiance to you. In Jesus Name. Amen.
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