When-Then or Even-If?

When-Then or Even-If?

Most of Us Have When-Then Thinking

If you’re like me, perhaps you’ve often fallen into the “When-Then” trap of thinking. “When _________ happens, then I’ll be happy.”

I remember being in high school thinking, “when I go off to college, then I’ll be happy.” I got in to my top choice of school, then my “when” changed. “When I meet the guy of my dreams, then I’ll be happy.” I met and married my amazing husband. Then it became, “When I have children, then I’ll be happy.” And on and on my thinking went.

The problem becomes, what if “when” never happens? I have so many incredible blessings in my life that have truly brought incredible happiness. But I’ve also had quite a few “whens” that have never happened. They are the ones that linger in the back of your mind, tempting you to forget the blessings right in front of you.

You can Choose

The Lord so patiently and gently reminds me that happiness is a choice that I must choose today – right now

Happiness is the state of our hearts, not the state of our circumstances. It’s an “Even-If” kind of living rather than a “When-Then” kind of living. Even-if things don’t work out as I had planned or on my timetable, I can live a happy life. And it’s found in resting and abiding in Jesus and the abundant life He came to give.

Why Not Change the Script?

Why not give it a try and change the script? Instead of:

  • “When I get a husband, then I’ll be happy”
  • “When I get that promotion, then I’ll be happy”
  • “When I have a child (or a third or fourth) child, then I’ll be happy”
  • “When (you fill in the blank) happens, then I’ll be happy.”


  • “Even if I never get married, I can be happy in the Lord, because He is my best friend”
  • “Even if my boss forgets me and all my hard work, I can be happy, because God says, ‘Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you’ (Isaiah 49:15)
  • “Even if I’m not pregnant, I can be happy in the Lord, because in Christ I can be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:2)”
  • “Even if (you fill in the blank) never happens, or it doesn’t happen on my time-table, I can still be happy in the Lord, because (search the Scriptures for His promises to you!)

When-then living is based on circumstances. Even-if living is based on a person – the person in whose presence there is fullness of joy and at whose right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). Base your happiness in Him. An eternity of happiness awaits when you do.

The Bible’s Even-If Passage

I love this passage from Habakkuk 3, because it beautifully illustrates this “Even-if” mentality.

“Though (Even-If!) the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,I will be joyful in God my Savior.“

-Habakkuk 3:17-18

When-Then or Even-If. Which one will we choose?

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