Nichole Nordeman’s music has been in my life since before I can remember. My dad has been a huge fan of her music for a long time, and rightly so. If you’re not familiar with the deep poetic wisdom of Nordeman’s breathtaking, tear-jerking, and jaw-dropping songs, you need to go check her out right now. Seriously. It’s worth it.
I have many favorite Nordeman songs, but recently I’ve become a bit obsessed with one of her older ones, “What If.” I listen to it once, and the lyrics strike me. I listen to it twice, and I crave it again. I listen to it on repeat, and I feel like I’m listening to something worthwhile. Don’t get it?
Take a listen for yourself. Just close your eyes and understand what Nordeman is saying.
The song begins with doubt.
What if you're right? And He was just another nice guy? What if you're right? What if it's true? They say the cross will Only make a fool of you And what if it's true? What if he takes his palace in history With all the prophets and the kings Who taught us love and came in peace But then the story ends? What then?
Jesus was nothing more than just another peace-teaching prophet, she says. A kindly wanderer who managed to amass a devoted following of fellow “believers.” Why should you believe Jesus is God when you could risk being scorned by the world? Why wouldn’t you choose to believe something—anything—otherwise?
But what if you're wrong? What if there's more? What if there's hope you never Dreamed of hoping for? What if you jump? And just close your eyes? What if the arms that catch you Catch you by surprise? What if He's more than enough? What if it's love?
You are thrilled and overwhelmed with this new truth you’ve found. You’ve given yourself a chance to believe, and you’ve found that Jesus is God! He’s your Savior, your refuge, your love. But seeds of doubt still linger in your mind.
What if you dig? Way down deeper than Your simple-minded friends? What if you dig? But what if you find A thousand more unanswered questions Down inside? That's all you find? What if you pick apart the logic And begin to poke the holes? What if the crown of thorns is no more Than folklore that must be told And retold?
You’ve taken the time to look a little closer than your jeering friends, but what you’ve found is confusing. Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead? He foretold the future and made one man’s lunch feed thousands? He died on a cross and came back to life? There’s no way this could all be true. No, it has to be nothing more than a touching fable, just like every other religion. Enough is enough.
But what if you're wrong? What if there's more? What if there's hope You never dreamed of hoping for? What if you jump? Just close your eyes? What if the arms that catch you Catch you by surprise? What if He's more than enough? What if it's love?
Yeah, yeah, hope and love. You’ve heard this before. It all sounds great, but you’ve seen the facts for yourself. It’s too incredible to be real…isn’t it?
'Cause you've been running As fast as you can And you've been looking for a place you can land For so long But what if you're wrong?
Then one day, it all falls apart. You have been running, you realize, running away from the arms of your God who longs to hold you. Could it be that Jesus really did do all those incredible things the Bible says he did? Could it be that faith is all it takes? Could you possibly be wrong about it all? If so, that would have to be…a miracle.
What if you jump? And just close your eyes? What if the arms that catch you Catch you by surprise? What if He's more than enough? What if it's love?
This time, you really do take the jump. But you don’t just hop off the edge of fear, doubt, and death—you take a running, flying leap of faith. And you close your eyes.
And He catches you.
And He is more than enough.