I tuned out the crowd behind me and listened closely. We were in a deep discussion about life and God, not your typical conversation for a night out. I took a sip of my water and glanced at the others who were chatting away at the table.
I turned my attention back to my friend. She was going through a lot. I already knew it, which is why I wanted to talk to her, and not the small, chitchat stuff either, but talk – like heart-to-heart, how’s your faith, are you OK kind of talk.
She was very open and candid about her struggle, her pain, her questions. I liked how real and raw she was.
It’s funny how two words she repeated, just two, would leave an impression one couldn’t erase.
After she said it the second time, my ears tuned in a little more. The noise in the background drifted away.
“Even when …”
Even when. She keeps saying, “even when.”
“Even when this happened,” she said as her hands moved with each word, illustrating the importance.
“And even when this …” she continued.
“… God … God is still faithful.”
I’m not sure if I expected the words that trailed her “even whens” to be so honorable – because let me tell you – her “even whens” were painful.
Soon the waiter came with our order. We scooted our chairs closer to the table and faced the others. Our talk would have to end.
Her words … they lingered.
I waved everyone goodbye and opened the door to my car, eager to get inside on what was turning into a cold night. The stars shined as night faded and I decided against turning on the radio and instead spent the drive home reflecting.
What I find most interesting is the powerful effect it has on the words that follow. Powerful because we all find ourselves in “even when” situations in life and what we say after that speaks volumes about our faith.
Because even when God is silent – God is not absent. (Ps. 46:1)
And even when it hurts – God is still healer. (Ps. 147:3)
And even when we rebel – Our Father still loves us. (Rom. 5:8)
And even when God says no – He has another yes. (John 14:13)
Even when we don’t understand His plans – God can be trusted. (Prov. 3:5)
Even when we find ourselves in a tough spot in life. A place we don’t want to be in. A place of uncertainty. One of heartache.
Even when we find ourselves there – God is still good.
Do you believe that?
Really believe that?
When we’re heading into or coming out of a difficult circumstance – pain penetrates our hearts while questions run through our minds. Too many questions, I’ve found, can often leave me with answers of doubt. I form those answers on my own because I’m not getting an immediate response.
I have to be careful because I don’t want to doubt God. We. We don’t want to doubt God. Doubt His love for us. His goodness. Doubt His faithfulness. Because God is always good and faithful. Good and faithful – good and faith don’t always look the way we’d like it to.
Because God was still good and faithful when He sent His son to die for us.
Even when Jesus was on the cross, left to suffer for our sins – God was still healer. He was still good. Jesus knew that. Jesus believed that.
When I arrived home, it was just after midnight. I tucked myself into bed and thought about my “even when’s” of life. I’ve had my fair share. We all have – life is hard– but even when it hurts and even though we may not understand – there is One who is even still.
And frankly, that’s all we really need to know.
“I am the LORD, and I do not change.” (Malachi 3:6)
Thank you for Your faithfulness and the love you express toward me, especially when I least deserve it. Even when all else fails, You never do. At times, I don’t always believe that; I pray for the kind of faith that does. I want to shine forth Your light even in my darkest days.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.