I endured much pain (self-inflicted) earlier in my life because I did not know about God’s “Even if” and “Even Though” promises. My ability to be strong through the adversity of life back then was pathetically weak. I can see now that it was because I had done nothing to develop a relationship with Christ to learn what he would have me think and do when the going got tough.
That meant I was unprepared to handle the fall-out from my insatiable thirst for money, mansions, and living a materialistic lifestyle.
I am so thankful that God used my good friend Tom Holladay, Assistant Senior Pastor at Saddleback Church, to break this pernicious cycle with the truth that an integral part of the faith process is being strong against adversity. I learned that faith is moving against your fears and worries. God says, “If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!” (Proverbs 24:10).
When we don’t turn our doubts over to God, they will burn emotional and physical holes through our soul. God says “no!” to our futile attempts to hang onto concerns that will compromise our peace: “Anxiety weighs down the heart” (Proverbs 12:25).
THE “EVEN IF” AND “EVEN THOUGH” OF ADVERSITY
God commands us not to worry about anything, especially when adversity hits. Not one thing. Here is where the “even if and even though” phenomenon comes into the picture. God tells us to trust him and turn over our fears and worries even if our world may be falling apart:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2).
God also says we should go to him with our doubts even though it appears there is no hope:
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
When adversity and its fear and worry cousins settle in for a long stay, a common reaction is to analyze everything to “get it stopped.” That may make us feel better, but it means we haven’t turned it over to God first. It’s like we are buying the newest smart phone because we have excluded God.
God doesn’t want us to give up in the face of persistent and seemingly never-ending adversities. In fact, he wants us to buckle down even harder when circumstances challenge us over and over and over again. By yielding ourselves to God and following his direction through his Word, we become the very best we can be in him. Why? Because he is expressed through us.
Even if…and Even though.