Even When

Photo by Liana De Laurent De Laurent on Unsplash.com

God Is Working Even When We Do Not See It.

by Eric Elkin

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.
— Ephesians 2:4ff

Sitting down to read scripture this morning, I found myself desperate for some sense of hope. The words on my computer screen were bleak. Stories littered with hashtags; #FakeNews; #FakeChristian; #FakeAmerican; #FakeHuman: etc… So many “fakes” leaves a person wondering what is real.

The stories cutting deep into my soul feel more dangerous than people calling each other names. The British Navy is blocking an Iranian oil tanker from delivering its cargo to Syria. Conditions at border detention centers continue to be criticized.  A Chinese admiral threatens to sink two U.S. aircraft carriers. The Chinese Prime Minister calls for sanctions against the U.S. 

I am desperate for hope. Unfortunately, the first words to catch my attention were, “We were dead through our trespasses.” Not exactly what I wanted to hear. Especially since being “dead through our trespasses” seems more a present condition than a past circumstance in an ancient letter. 

The mind of a preacher goes crazy when presented this kind of word association. Perhaps God is calling me to be a prophet? Maybe I am supposed to lay bare the sins of the people so they will turn to God? If that were the case, then it would appear God has sent the same message to the millions of people commenting on social media.

There is no shortage of prophets laying bare the sins of the people. So many, in fact, they often contradict themselves on the nature of our sins. The world is full of diagnosis and short on cures.

You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.
— Tyler MayfieldThomas Merton

Hope was found in two rather unassuming words, “Even when.” Yes, we are dead to our through our trespasses today just like the people were in Ephesus. However, the point of the letter is not the gloom of death, but “even when” we were dead, God “made us alive together with Christ.”

I want to be made alive. I want to know there is hope in these dark circumstances. For this reason, even when calms my anxious soul. Even when things appear to be most hopeless, God’s great love for us all is creating something new. 

Maybe you will understand what I mean by replacing “dead through our trespasses,” with whatever condition most leaves you emotionally paralyzed. Even when you felt most hopeless. Even when you were most depressed. Even when you were most angry or hurt, or sad. Even when you were any of these things, God, who is rich in mercy, made you alive in Christ. Knowing God is working ways I cannot always see makes me feel a whole lot better. I hope it does for you as well.


Click to read Ephesians 2: 1-10

Reflection Questions:

  • What current issue most threatens your sense of hope ?

  • How do the words, “even when” change your outlook?

  • In the reading, mercy is the cause behind God’s changing the present. How can mercy change you?

  • How can you improve your vision to see God at work?

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