Music Discussions, Uncategorized

Even If

even-if

Even If – MercyMe

Main Point: God has the power to save us from every trouble we’ll ever face. When God rescues us, we say, “God is good!” But can we say the same thing if God chooses not to rescue us the way we want?

Vital Info Before You Get Started: The following info will help you contextualize this song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: We at The Source for Youth Ministry believe that certain elements in our youth culture can serve as good discussion jump starters with students. At the same time, we would never hope to introduce teens to a negative influence that they haven’t already encountered. This balance is a delicate one. In our experience most teens, churched and unchurched, keep pretty current with music and music videos like this one. Thanks to YouTube, MTV.com, Spotify, and iTunes, the most popular music videos and songs are free to access only a click away. If you decide to use this, do so by catering it to fit your family’s needs.

  • The band MercyMe was founded in Edmond, OK back in 1994 and Christian music around the English speaking world hasn’t been the same since. Their very first crossover single released in 2002, I Can Only Imagine, went on to be certified triple platinum. The band has charted seven #1 hits on Billboard’s Christian Songs chart and, to date, has collected a total of eight Dove Awards.
  • Events and accomplishments that round out their impact include: a partnership with Compassion International, numerous tours with the biggest names in Christian music, singing the National Anthem at a Dallas Cowboys home game, and the successful launch of a mission agency called The Go Foundation.
  • MercyMe has been one of the biggest names in Contemporary Christian Music for the last two decades…and there’s no end in sight.

Introducing the Song – You Say This:
I want to show you a music video for a Christian song that’s recently captured my attention. It’s not exactly a worship song. Nor is it a song that talks about how awesome the singer’s life is. Instead, this song is about a tough circumstance the singer is facing at the moment. But don’t get caught up in his misery. Listen to what He still believes about God in spite of his difficult circumstances.

The Music Video:
The music video can be viewed for free at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6fA35Ved-Y

Song Lyrics:  Even If

They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I’m losing bad
I’ve stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it’ll be alright
But right now, oh right now I just can’t
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 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
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh 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
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause 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, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

Three Questions to Ask in the Car (with thoughts to dive deeper with your kids): 

Q: How would you summarize this song’s message in your own words?
A: The singer talks about how troubled his life is at the moment and how much he needs God. However, it seems to him that God isn’t responding or helping. In spite of that feeling, the singer says he will cling to his faith in God “even if” God doesn’t answer the way he wants God to.

Q: How would you describe the singer’s faith? How do you know?
A: It seems as though his faith is strong, even though the circumstance he’s facing is difficult. He talks about how bad his life is (“and right now, right now I’m losing bad” and “a little faith is all I have, right now”). But in spite of that harsh reality, he says he is going to cling to Jesus. That’s strong faith!

Q: What does God want us to do when we face tough times?
A: God always wants us to pursue Him. God never wants us to give up hope. Life isn’t always easy, but God is always good! The worst thing we can do when life gets hard is to ignore God. The best thing we can do is to chase after God in prayer and search for His will by studying the Bible.

Where to Take It from Here: Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful!  (There is a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged – the next time it feels right, try out another song. Keep engaging them.

For Deeper Discussion:
(If your kids seem into diving in deeper and looking at what the Bible has to say on the subject, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)

Want help getting your teenager engaged in conversation? CLICK HERE for a helpful article from our “Parenting Help” page providing you with 3 Essentials to Talking with Today’s Teens.

Transition Statement – You Say This:
This song gives me tremendous hope even though it’s not exactly a “happy” song. It reminds me who God is and what He is capable of doing in my life, especially in the dark moments. The Bible teaches us that God has the power to save us from every trouble we’ll ever face. One of the statements we make when God saves the day is, “God is good!” But here’s the question I want us to spend the next few minutes answering: Can we say the same thing if God chooses not to rescue us the way we want?

Discussion Questions:

  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our favorite song right now.
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Have you ever gone through a situation or circumstance that was so terrible that it made you wonder whether or not God was caring for you? If so, can you briefly share?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What does the singer decide to do “even if” God doesn’t show up and save the day? (Hint: Look at the song’s chorus.)
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Be honest…is that true of you or not? Why?

Read the following passage:

Daniel 3:1-18 (NLT)

NOTE OF CONTEXT: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (along with thousands of other Jews) have been carted off as slaves to Babylon by the mighty and powerful King Nebuchadnezzar. Instead of being able to freely worship the Lord as they did in their homeland, they were now living in a land that worshipped all sorts of false gods. Any Jew that was committed to worshipping the Lord was taking a very big risk.

King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.  2 Then he sent messages to the princes, prefects, governors, advisers, counselors, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up.  3 When all these officials had arrived and were standing before the image King Nebuchadnezzar had set up,  4 a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command!  5 When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue.  6 Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”  7 So at the sound of the musical instruments, all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.  8 But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews.  9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Long live the king!  10 You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the musical instruments.  11 That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace.  12 But there are some Jews– Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego– whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They have defied Your Majesty by refusing to serve your gods or to worship the gold statue you have set up.”  13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be brought before him. When they were brought in,  14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up?  15 I will give you one more chance. If you bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments, all will be well. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. What god will be able to rescue you from my power then?”  16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you.  17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty.  18 But even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

  1. ASK A FAMILY MEMBER: Just so we’re all on the same page, what was King Nebuchadnezzar’s rule about the statue…and what was the punishment for breaking that rule?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s response to King Nebuchadnezzar?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Clearly Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were demonstrating incredible faith in their statement of defiance to King Nebuchadnezzar. What does God often do when we display great faith in Him? Why?

Read the Following Passage:

Daniel 3:19-30 (NLT)

19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully clothed. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames leaped out and killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in! 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell down into the roaring flames. 24 But suddenly, as he was watching, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes,” they said, “we did indeed, Your Majesty.” 25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire. They aren’t even hurt by the flames! And the fourth looks like a divine being!” 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the princes, prefects, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke! 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be crushed into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.

  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: When King Nebuchadnezzar threw the three men into the furnace, they looked in and saw a fourth man. Who was that fourth Man?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s faith in God rewarded at the end of the story?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Not EVERY story in the Bible ends this way. Can you think of an example when God chooses not to intervene and save the day? (Leaders – This is a tough question, but a necessary one. We need our students to understand that God is always able to rescue us, but sometimes, for reasons known only to Him, He chooses not to intervene. John the Baptist is one example. The martyrdoms of James the Apostle and Stephen in the Book of Acts are other examples.)
  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What is one simple step you can take this week to increase your faith in God regardless of the circumstance you’re facing?

Wrap Up – You Say This:
During our time together, we listened to a powerful song about keeping our faith strong even when it seems like the world is crashing down around us. The singer borrowed the lines from Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they said, “We know God can save us from you, King Nebuchadnezzar. But even if God doesn’t, you need to know something. We’re never going to bow down to your statue!” Those were powerful words then. They are powerful words now! Those words reveal a strong faith, the kind of faith you and I want to have in life.

Throughout the song, the singer kept repeating one line: it is well with my soul. You may not know it, but that line he kept repeating is part of the chorus of a very famous hymn written 150 years ago. The song is called It Is Well With My Soul and it was written in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on the darkest night of one man’s life.…

For three days in 1871, a fire raged through the great city of Chicago and turned large parts of the metropolis into ruble and ash. The destruction was tremendous; 300 lost their lives, 100,000 lost their homes, and Horatio Spafford, a wealthy attorney who had invested heavily into real estate, lost his fortune.

But the loss of his wealth paled in comparison to what he would lose soon thereafter.

When the inferno was ultimately extinguished by some much-needed rain, Spafford could finally focus his attention on his only son, a 4-year-old boy who lay in bed suffering with scarlet fever. The faithful and devout father of five prayed to God on his son’s behalf, but healing would not come. Horatio Spafford soon became a father of four.

Penniless – and now heartbroken, too – Horatio buried his son in the ground and his grief in long hours rebuilding the city. Two difficult years later, Spafford found himself in great need of rest, so he decided to take his family to Europe to visit his good friend D. L. Moody, the famous evangelist from Chicago, who was conducting revivals across the sea. But on the brink of their family vacation, Spafford was detained in New York by an urgent business affair, so he sent his wife Anna on ahead with their four daughters, Maggie, Tanetta, Annie, and Bessie.

It would prove to be a fateful decision.

On the night of November 22, 1873, while the Ville du Havre silently cut through the frigid waters of the North Atlantic, the French cruiser slammed into another ship, fatally crippling the passenger vessel. The impact threw passengers from their beds and crew members from their posts. Water poured into the sinking ship, and it tilted violently in the pitch black night. The darkness was filled with screams and prayers as the icy waves began to rip loved ones apart.

In less than two hours, the great ship sank beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, sending 226 people to a watery grave. All four of Horatio Spafford’s children were among the dead. Miraculously, Mrs. Spafford survived the ordeal, and was found nearly unconscious, clinging to a piece of wreckage. When she and the other 46 survivors landed in Wales several days later, she telegraphed her husband the terrible news: saved alone.

Horatio made immediate plans to join his grieving wife, and secured passage on a ship headed for England. During the lonesome trip, his ship’s captain tenderly called Spafford aside and said, “I believe we are now passing over the place where the Ville du Havre went down.” Overwhelmed by raw emotion, Spafford returned to his cabin, but found sleep unattainable. The Holy Spirit prompted him to put pen to paper, and out of his grief came these timeless words:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Even when life was the hardest it had ever been, through his faith in God, Horatio Spafford was able to truly say, “It is well with my soul.” (This free illustration – and more like it – can be found on www.ItsLikeThis.org.)

Let’s spend a few minutes praying for each other.

Close in Prayer 

Written by David R Smith

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David R. Smith

David R. Smith

David R. Smith is the author of several books including Christianity... It's Like This and speaks to parents and leaders across the U.S. David is a 15-year youth ministry veteran, now a senior pastor, who specializes in sharing the gospel, and equipping others do the same. David provides free resources to anyone who works with teenagers on his website, DavidRSmith.org David resides with his wife and son in Tampa, Florida.

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