Even If

“…And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16b NASB

These words spoken by Esther to her cousin Mordecai after they had learned of the wicked Haman’s plot to kill all the Jews, is to me is just one of the great declarations of faith and absolute trust in our sovereign God. Mordecai urged Ester to exercise her position and intercede for her people. But was confident that even if she did not God would bring deliverance in another way. Esther threw off any selfish consideration of saving her own life. Instead, she committed in her heart to do the right thing no matter what it cost her. It is what I refer to as an “Even if” decision.

People make even if decisions in our lives more than they might realize. At their jobs, in their financial investments, even in relationships. These decisions come with risks, costs, and rewards. Worldly or natural decisions made with mental reasoning are often motivated by opportunity or need. A decision made with the mind leaves room for reasoning, and when these decisions bring suffering, they can begin to reason away why they made such a choice.

But as for us Christians, we that are a part of the Body of Christ in this world and governed by our King, an even if decision must always be made with the heart. An example given to us today is the Israelites in the wilderness. (1 Cor. 10:11) After receiving from Moses the commandments of God, and the instruction to pronounce the blessings and curses from the mounts of Ebal and Gerizim. (Deuteronomy 28,29) The rest of Old Testament gives example after example of their disobedience. Though the prophet Isaiah, the LORD says that they drew near with their mouth and honored Him with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him. (Isaiah 29:13)

Even if decision for or toward the Lord must start with a commitment. Then diligence and courage that comes from faith in Him, will give us endurance to stand against anything that would come at us. Let’s look at some that made an even if decision and learn from them. I want to start with Job. From the account of what he did I have gained much wisdom for facing difficult situations in my life.

Job took his stand wholeheartedly when he said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15) Job was a man that lost everything, yet he didn’t. He may have questioned God as to why, but he maintained his faith, patience, and endurance. While his chiding wife urged him to curse God and die, and his good time friends threw accusation after accusation at him, he decided to live rightly before God. His even if decision led him through his riches to poor to extraordinarily rich journey.

Debby Davis, another writer for this magazine recently authored an article titled “If Only.” When I read it, I realized that it dovetailed nicely with what I had been writing here. I reached out and asked for permission to include her words, which she graciously granted. I recommend you read that article.

“Have you ever accused God of being absent? Have you felt alone in your suffering, feeling like God is far, far away, and that He doesn’t care! I know I have. It is the plan of the devil to implant the words “if only” deep into our hearts, destroying our belief in God and replacing our trust in Him with hopelessness.”

Debby Davis

Then there is David. When he was running from Saul who was out to kill him, took hiding in the Desert of En Gedi. Now David had been nothing loyal to Saul despite having been anointed to be king. His even if decision that no matter how far Saul chased him, or what he would do if he caught him, he would not kill Saul. There is so much honor and integrity in this account. Honor for God and walking in integrity are important in being able to keep our even if decisions.

Then there is the account of the three Hebrew men in Daniel that refused the King’s order to bow to an image he had created. (Daniel 3) I love how they answered the king when they stood before him. I am paraphrasing here, “Uh mister king sir, we ain’t even going to be careful in answering you, we ain’t offering a defense, we ain’t doing it. Throw us in, our God will deliver. But even if He don’t, we still will not bow.” That took some courage. That took faith when these three did not know the outcome.

Peter’s life encourages us to preserve in our even if decisions despite our failures. It is interesting to note that the Lord’s first words to Peter were “Come, follow Me” and His last words were “You must follow Me.” Between this invitation and commandment, there were some failures for Peter. His zeal got ahead of his faith and understanding at times and caused him to speak before thinking. His declarations that he would follow to the death was backed up when he drew the sword and was prepared to make his last stand in the garden. But his denial of during Jesus’s trial might have caused to question whether he was truly the rock that the Lord renamed him. Peter’s stick-to-itiveness show us that our unfaithfulness is overcome by God’s faithfulness.

Paul met his even if decisions with courage and boldness. He was undeterred from his calling despite the troubles that came to him. Whether from those that opposed his message, or those that looked to kill him, he stood for the gospel of Christ. When Paul wrote his letter to the Christians in Rome, he told them of his longing to see them. He wanted to meet with those who had already accepted the gospel and preach to those that had not. The Lord would fulfill Paul’s longing and His plan for the gentiles to hear the good news of the Kingdom of God…even if Paul were in chains.