Nevertheless. A word we often ignore to move onto more significant words beyond it. I am learning however, that nevertheless is in fact extremely significant.
Nevertheless connotes a process in spite of something. In other words it is a complete diversion from the plan you may have had in mind. For someone like me who likes to plan things out and loves when things actually work out according to that plan, nevertheless brings anxiety. It means my well-conceived, often-freakishly-in-depth-detailed plan has not worked out as well as I had hoped.
But often times the nevertheless results in something so much greater than anything I could have planned or imagined.
We often encounter nevertheless on the way to the fulfillment of a promise or a hope. We receive a promise which creates an expectant hope to see the fulfillment of that promise. We dream about how we think the promise is going to be fulfilled, and BOOM. Something hits that throws off our plans and hopes entirely.
We begin to question the validity and accuracy of the promise. We feel as if we have been robbed our promise and hope. We begin to dismiss our promise as a lie, because it was not being fulfilled according to OUR plan. We think it will never happen. Perhaps it is not that it will never happen, but rather it will happen nevertheless.
The Apostle Paul received a promise from God that he would in fact testify about Jesus Christ in Rome (Acts 23:11). Maybe Paul dreamed it would be like his other missionary journeys and envisioned different possibilities of how he would eventually reach Rome. I don’t think any of them included the way he actually ended up there.
Paul did in fact reach Rome, but it took an arrest, a hurricane, and a shipwreck to get him there (Acts 27). Perhaps Paul too had doubts as he encountered obstacle after obstacle in the fulfillment of the promise. But instead of saying never, he was able to say nevertheless.
Before his ship wrecks, Paul addresses the crew informing them that an angel of the God whom he belongs to and serves appeared and reminded him of the promise (27:22-24). Paul encourages the crew, “So keep your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island” (27:25-26). Paul knew the promise would be fulfilled, but it would take a process. And he found peace in the process. In the end, it was the process that brought so much more glory to God than a straight shot to Rome ever could have.
I have found myself in the midst of a nevertheless. Often times I want to dismiss my promise has one that will never happen, because it seems too hard a process to endure. It would be easier to give up and find an alternative. But the choice of an alternative is the choice of an idol. My will over God’s.
I have to trust that God will fulfill his promise nevertheless there may indeed be a painful process. But in each step of the process he is there leading and guiding me. I know the day the process meets the promise in full consummation it will be far more beautiful than anything I could have ever imagined or dreamed. God will be glorified more through the process than even the promise.
Instead of saying my promise will never happen, I believe my promise will happen nevertheless.
I pray you will believe the same.
“For no word from God will ever fail.” -Luke 1:37
“I am the Lord’s servant…may your word to me be fulfilled.” -Luke 1:38
“Blessed is she who believed the Lord would fulfill his promises to her.” -Luke 1:45