Even If...

David Burchett

Sometimes we wonder if it will ever get any better. Sometimes we wonder if we are alone in this struggle.

Those are questions that every honest follow of Jesus has wrestled with. My friend Bart Millard of MercyMe was pondering those questions when he wrote one of the most powerful songs from their amazing new record Lifer. I found it interesting that in the same time frame I was writing a chapter about doubt in my new book Waking Up Slowly.

Bart can write in a stanza what it takes me hundreds of rambling words to say. But both of us experience the same struggle. We share the hope of grace. We write and sing about how our identity is not worldly success but who we are in Christ and who God says we are because of that relationship. You should be extremely grateful that Bart Millard is the one who sings. We both try to communicate that on your worst day you are loved and cherished by the Father.

But when you write about grace and identity you know that life and/or the Enemy will give you a pop quiz. The lyrics from Even If are powerful

It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now

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’s still you alone.

As I finished the final edit for Waking Up Slowly I had my test. And I had to decide if the words I was about to share with you in a hardcover book with a pretty cover were true in my own life. I remember talking to my sweet wife about the situation.

“Nothing that happens in my life is a surprise to God. So I will either receive blessings I never expected from this, I will grow in my faith, or a combination of those two.”

“Is that how you feel?” Joni quizzed.

“NOPE!” I responded honestly. “But that is what I am trusting and if I keep believing those truths my feelings will follow.”

I can tell you that they have. God has been present. I have seen His hand in so many ways. I wrote these words in a chapter called The Doubt Bout about my own struggles.

I am drawn to Jesus. I believe that God decided to redeem man through this outlandish plan. No religion offers redemption without works other than the gospel of Jesus. I believe I have seen His hand over and over in my life. But if I am wrong and had the opportunity to live my life over again, I can honestly say I would change nothing.

I consider a life pursuing the impossible goal of becoming like Jesus to be more valuable than any honor or possession I could attain. The teachings of Jesus are so amazing and so radical that I cannot imagine that any man could have imagined them. If you drill down into just His words you will find a sacred pathway that is worth seeking.

Because I have followed the teachings of Jesus, I believe my marriage is still intact. I don’t say that lightly. I honestly believe that without that faith commitment, Joni and I would not have survived. Whatever kind things that my friends and colleagues might say about me are in large part due to how I believe I should respond to them based on the words of Christ. I have been shaped and matured by this radical Rabbi who changed history. He changed me.

The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less. ~ Tim Keller, The Reason For God

I have been changed by these truths. I have confronted my doubts and I have chosen to stay focused on the claims of this Rabbi from Nazareth. If I am wagering my eternity, I choose to wager on Jesus.

Taken from Waking Up Slowly by Dave Burchett copyright © 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

Jesus is not an easy choice at times. The Apostle John wrote that many followers were deserting Jesus after some difficult teaching.

At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”
Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:66-68, NLT)

Indeed. I plant my flag of faith on that hill of eternal truth. Jesus is my hope. Even if…

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’s still you alone
I know the sorrow
I know the hurt
Would all go away
If you’d just say the word
But even if you don’t
My hope’s still you alone

I am trusting that today.