by Michelle Bauman, Director of Y4Life

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of conjunctive adverbs. Words like therefore, consequently, furthermore, and likewise get my adrenaline flowing. They’re bold and flashy sports car words—the five-cylinder, rev-your-engine type. A solid conjunctive adverb can instantly transform a list of bland statements into a cohesive, driven argument.

This is especially true of conjunctive adverbs like however or instead, those that compare, contrast, and undo what’s just been done. Like a sleek Lamborghini or a classy Mustang, a single conjunctive adverb can turn a sentence on a dime, changing its direction and argument instantly.

And the most grandiose grandfather of them all? Nevertheless.

Now, I admit my pronouncement might seem a little hasty. After all, nevertheless is just three words smooshed together. But the cool-factor inherent in this adverb doesn’t rely on its looks; instead, it rests squarely on what happens under the hood.

Nevertheless admits everything and concedes nothing. It turns reality on its head. Instead of disproving all that came before, it simply unveils a greater claim. Here’s an example:

Sure, I stayed up until 3:00 a.m. the night before my final; nevertheless, I’m going to ace the exam, it declares. And it does.

True, we’re down by 12 points with 30 seconds left on the clock; nevertheless, we’re going to win, it promises. And sure enough, we do.

Nevertheless is a Tesla in a sea of minivans. It’s not just smart; it completely outclasses the competition. And when God uses nevertheless, we should be prepared for the extraordinary because He almost always uses it for our benefit.

For example, take a look at Nehemiah 9. Go ahead and read the whole chapter. It records the history of God’s people—how they turned away from Him again and again—and it recounts how He continued to forgive. Pay close attention to verses 17-21 and 27-31. Could there be a more rebellious people?

Yet verse 31 declares, “Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.” They deserved to be forsaken; nevertheless, God showed mercy to His people.

Still not convinced of the prowess of nevertheless? Read Psalm 73:22-23: “I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.” Despite the psalmist’s anger and impatience with God, God nevertheless drew the psalmist close and led him by his hand.

Perhaps no passage proves the power of God’s nevertheless more poignantly than Luke 22:39-42: “And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him … And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, sayingFather, if you are willing, remove this cup from meNevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’” God’s nevertheless sent Jesus to the cross; God’s nevertheless means we live.

God’s nevertheless is powerful enough to leave burnouts on the pavement of destiny. Though we were headed to hell, Christ changed our course, redeeming us for heaven. And this reality, God’s nevertheless, not only gives us reason to rejoice, but it also becomes the only real antidote to fear.

Our theme for this edition of LifeDate is “Fear Not!” and it’s a poignant one. We are entering a time in American history when being a Christian and holding to conservative, Biblical values will be difficult. Christ reminds us that the cost of discipleship will be great: “‘I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God” (John 16:1-2).

Despite this foreboding statement, Christ didn’t leave His disciples in a state of hopelessness and fear. Nor does He do so today. Instead, Christ employs His nevertheless: “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me … But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:4-7).

Christ followed through on His promise. We have the helper, the Holy Spirit, who lives in us and among us. The Holy Spirit is, even now, strengthening us unto salvation. It is the Holy Spirit who will give us the courage to stand firm in the face of trials and profess Christ and LIFE to the world.

Christ Jesus, our great nevertheless, has paved the way for salvation and LIFE. Because of Him we have nothing to fear. We may face persecution and hardship; nevertheless, Christ is greater than the suffering we may meet. He is our certain hope during times of uncertainty.

May we rejoice in the nevertheless Christ guarantees, and may it make us bold confessors of LIFE.