Fair Trade Services
Release Date: February 17th 2017
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Even If
MercyMe are one of the pioneers of Christian CCM/pop music in the modern era, alongside other artists like Casting Crowns, Building 429, Tenth Avenue North and Third Day. Songs like “I Can Only Imagine”, “Spoken For”, “Hold Fast”, “God With Us”, “Flawless”, “Dear Younger Me” and “Shake”, to name a few, have all impacted millions around the world throughout their time on radio. And now with their most recent album Welcome to the New (released 2014) receiving RIAA Gold Status, it was time for MercyMe to record and release their next album. Because we all know, 3 years is a little too long between album releases, right? In all seriousness, Lifer drops March 31st 2017, and to tie us over between now and then, the quintet, led by the ever so humble Bart Millard, released their new radio single to the public, “Even If”, on February 17th 2017.
I reckon that by listening to “Even If” and “Even If” alone should get everyone pumped up and excited for Lifer. Because, frankly, and honestly, can MercyMe do any wrong? One of the most heartfelt and hopeful bands I’ve ever heard of, let’s just say that the 3 year wait between albums is very much worth it for die-hard MercyMe fans, like myself (Yes, I do have the pre-release of MercyMe’s Lifer releasing March 31st, and while I can’t really say much about it, it is definitely a 5/5 rating, check out the full-length review come the end of March!). “Even If”, with the exception of songs like “Flawless”, “God With Us” and “All of Creation”, has some of the most emotive, poignant, heartfelt and encouraging lyrics I’ve heard by any CCM artist ever. Period. And I know I quasi-reviewed ‘Even If’ alongside “All That Matters” (Colton Dixon), “This We Know” (Passion), “Run The Race” (Holly Starr) and “Tears” (Matt Hammitt) in the New Singles of 2017 post, but nevertheless, this song from MercyMe deserves another post for discussion. Because frankly, what better song to listen to and be encouraged by than “Even If”, a track that reminds us all about God’s sovereignty in spite of the circumstance? Just read the lyrics of the chorus of the song, and you’d know what I mean by the track being, in my opinion, one of the most heartfelt the band has recorded, ever- 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.
Pretty amazing right? I’m not even sure if I can sing these lyrics with an earnest and fervent heart of praise if I was faced with calamity. Because these words ought not to be sung lightly. It is when we are faced with chaos and God doesn’t fix it, that we’re faced with a conundrum- even if God doesn’t come through, no matter how many times we have prayed about the situation, will we still praise Him? This is MercyMe’s version of Matt Redman’s “Blessed Be Your Name”- a song that reminds us all that if, and when, it all comes down to it; what God has done on the cross and His subsequent resurrection should and ought to be enough, that even if nothing else happens, if God doesn’t fix whatever is wrong with the world, that He still would be praised, with a grateful and willing heart. These lyrics alone, even without the music to accompany it (mind you, by now if you are a MercyMe fan like myself, you’ve heard “Even If” possibly 1000 times!), should get anyone pumped with anticipation of their new album Lifer (I know I am…but then again, I have the review copy, so my excitement doesn’t really count…does it?). “Even If” will be quite possibly the song that encourages a lot of people, myself included in the upcoming months ahead- yes, even more so than songs like “Tears”, “I Have This Hope”, “The Cause of Christ”, “Chain Breaker”, even “Thy Will” or “Eye of the Storm”.
As I finish off this review of sorts of “Even If”, let me share this ‘quote’ from Bart Millard himself of what he thinks of the song- The song ‘Even If’ is incredibly special to me. My son Sam is 15 years old, and he’s been a diabetic since he was two. When you’re a parent of a child with any kind of chronic illness, these things don’t go away. You have a lot of good days, but some days you feel like you’re losing bad. I was in the midst of one of those bad days when ‘Even If’ was written. ‘Even If’ is a reminder to people in difficult situations that don’t seem to go away. God is worthy long before any of those circumstances even showed up. In fact, what Christ has already done on the cross is probably the only thing we need to get through those circumstances. It’s a foundation that was built long before those difficulties came to be. This song is a declaration to God that even if He went silent and never said another word, He’s still worthy to be praised and that He’s our greatest hope in the midst of the trial.
If there’s nothing that we can take from this song when we hear it, let it be this- that while we all want the Lord to move the mountains in our lives that bring us uncertainty and hopelessness, the reality can be much different. Yes, God does move the mountains when we pray, but sometimes our prayer is answered in a different way than we expected. Yet if we are in Christ, we can rest assured that the promise Jesus made about Him never leaving us during trials has nevertheless been fulfilled during our own trials. Yes, God may not change our circumstances, but He is always good and faithful, giving us the peace that passes all understanding, to help us navigate the circumstances of this life. He is indeed able to do anything, and He can answer our prayers, but sometimes, sad to say, He doesn’t. We may not know why, and maybe we may never know why until we go home to heaven, but what we do know is this- that hopefully, we’ll sing the same words that Bart sung in “Even If”, with as much passion and fervent honesty as him, that ‘even if You don’t, my hope is You alone’.
3 songs to listen to: Even If, Even If, Even If… no seriously, you can listen to this song three times in a row and still not get sick of it, it’s that good!
RIYL: for KING AND COUNTRY, Third Day, Newsboys, Casting Crowns, Tenth Avenue North