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#831 - "Even If" by MercyMe
MercyMe's Nathan Cochran uncovers the personal story that fueled this strong song of faith through suffering.

Posted: June 15, 2017 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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MercyMe has topped the charts for more than 15 years since they released their multi-platinum single "I Can Only Imagine," which is the most downloaded song in the history of Christian music. They have followed that up with hit after hit, including "God with Us," "All of Creation," "Beautiful," "The Hurt & the Healer" and "Greater." Lifer has been one of my most anticipated albums of 2017. It has songs with inspirational story-style lyrics that will immediately cause you to worship and sing along with these ultra-talented musicians.

"This new record is the logical next chapter after our last album, and it carries a new perspective," MercyMe's Bart Millard remarked. "We are all in this for life - even on the days when we don't feel like doing any of it. We want these songs to be a morale boost to remind people of who they are and what Christ has done." The first single "Even If" has been a hit song since it released, and I spoke with Nathan Cochran about my favorite song from the album.

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

In the context of the whole album, this song was written towards the end of the writing process. We typically have a song or two that comes in the eleventh hour, mostly because we don't do as much writing beforehand as we should. It's kind of like high school: we wait until the night before to do our homework. 

Tim Timmons has become a close friend of the band. He had written essentially a chorus to a song that he never finished. In the middle of writing for the album, Bart went over to Tim's and was unloading about how Bart's oldest son Sam has been a type one diabetic since he was two years old. They had a rough day with checkups. Now his son is fifteen, and being a teenager, he doesn't always want to take care of himself. Whether a good or bad checkup, it is a reminder to all of us that this is something he deals with every day. Bart was unloading this on Tim Timmons, forgetting that Tim is living with a form of cancer every day and has for years now.

Bart left thinking that Tim wasn't really listening, but he actually wrote everything down and sent Bart a message, and it ended up being almost word for word the chorus of this song. It was one of those moments based on life experiences, just like our other songs. Tim sang this chorus and then Bart sang it to us and said he thought this was what we were missing for the album. We finished it out fairly quickly.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song? 

Psalm 125:1 (NKJV): "Those who trust in the Lord, are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever."

Psalm 62:5 (NKJV): "My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him."

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV): "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness."

Daniel 3:16-18 (NIV): "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

Matthew 17:20 (NIV): He replied, "Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

What is the takeaway message?

Songs about life experiences are what are important to us. They seem to be what people relate to the most. That story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the book of Daniel is a reminder of the type of faith we are called to have. We don't want people to hear this song and think that it is okay that God has overlooked them. That's not at all the point of the song. The point is to echo what they said standing in front of the fiery furnace: we know God can deliver us, but even if He does not, we are still not going to bow to anyone but Him.

It's not a denial of what we are going through. It's not an excuse to say God overlooked me. We are saying that even if God went silent in our lives, for the rest of our lives, what God accomplished on the cross is still our greatest hope. In every instance, what Christ has accomplished is what gets us through, and circumstances can't change that. Whether you are dealing with a health issue, finances, or anything in life, sometimes we say we are believing in God for something, and when that doesn't come to pass, we need to ask ourselves if we are just believing in God for what we want. Am I going to say that He is enough? He is our hope and our end goal. It's difficult to live that way. That's what the song is about, having our hope in Christ alone.

They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now 
Right now 
I'm losing bad

Stood on this stage 
Night after night
Reminding the broken 
It'll be alright
But right now 
Right now I just can't 

It's easy to sing 
When there's nothing 
To bring me down 
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 is You alone

They say it only takes 
A little faith 
To move a mountain
Well good thing 
A little faith is all I have 
Right now 

God when You choose 
To leave mountains unmovable 
Give me the strength 
To be able to sing 
It is well with my soul

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

I know the sorrow 
And I know the hurt 
Would all go away 
If You'd just say the word
Even if You don't 
My hope is You alone 

You've been faithful 
You've been good all my days 
Jesus I will cling to You 
Come what may
I know You're able 
I know You can 

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

I know the sorrow 
And I know the hurt 
Would all go away 
If You'd just say the word
Even if You don't 
My hope is You alone

My hope is You alone
It is well 
With my soul
It is well 
It is well 
With my soul

The hymn "It is Well with My Soul" is a reminder that our worship of God should not be based on our circumstances, but based on who God is. I think God included the book of Job as a reminder of how He wants us to handle trials. God tells us in the Bible that we are all sinners, and we've all fallen short. We need to serve God because of who He is, not what He does for us. God doesn't promise to spare us from pain, but we need to trust Him. You have to trust Him and wait on Him and wait for Him to orchestrate the plans for your life. That story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the book of Daniel is a great reminder to have that type of faith and to allow God to use you.

"Even If" is poignant and powerful with earnest, worshipful lyrics. It is a powerful reminder that we are not meant for this world, but to live with God eternally in Heaven. Commit your life to Jesus and offer Him your heart and your life as you sing along with this great song. We have nothing to bring to our battles except the Lord. When we are on our knees before Him like Job, raising our empty hands, we are closest to God. That's a gift God wants all of His children to have. Under our own strength, many mountains we face will seem impossible, but with God, all things are possible.

What a gift and promise to know that He makes beauty out of our ashes. That's worthy of all our praise. We need to live each day knowing that despite circumstances, God has a plan for "those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). Join in and sing along, "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." Amen to that!

Watch the lyric video below.


NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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