Friday, June 16, 2023

But God

Have you ever received what sounded like a lovely compliment, only to be followed by the word “but”? How is it that one little word can simultaneously invalidate what came before it and unravel us in one fell swoop?! I call this falling victim to “but.”
Have you ever been a victim of “but”? 
It works like this:
(Something nice) + but = (something unpleasant, awful, upsetting, etc.)
I try to not use this word in my communication with people I love. Instead, I like to use the word “and.” I like to make sure that the person I’m speaking with understands that both statements - the good and the bad - can be equally valid and that neither statement affects my love for that person.

It doesn’t feel good to be on the receiving end of a “but.” Yet, we often use this little conjunction when communicating with others, when describing our lives, and even in prayer. However, if we manipulate the equation a bit, and add God to the conjunction, we see a far more helpful result:
(Describing difficulty) + yet God = (remembering, recalling, and recounting God’s faithfulness and mighty works)
The psalmist, Asaph, does this in Psalm 74. After expression feelings of abandonment by God, he reminds himself and his listeners of God’s sovereignty and past acts:
Yet God my King is from of old,
    working salvation in the midst of the earth.
Psalm 74:12 (ESV, emphasis mine)
Many of our struggles are real and valid. God cares about them, and he hears us when we cry out in them. Even so, by remembering who God is and what he has done, we shift into a truth that changes things about our predicaments.
This is very similar to a faith building “but” that I notice Paul, Jesus, and others in the Bible used.
(Describing difficulty) + but God = (better outcome, greater faith)
Here are just a few couple examples:
29 And when they had carried out all that was written of him [Jesus], they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead,
Acts 13:29-30 (ESV, emphasis mine)

26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:26 (ESV, emphasis mine)

We change our perspective… 
We change the spiritual atmosphere… 
We change our course… 
…When we insert “but God” into our vocabulary. Because no matter how dire our circumstance, a “but God” is what brought Jesus back to life. If what was dead can be resurrected, “but God” has resurrection power.  
So today, when you are in the thick of difficulty, go ahead and voice your complaint… added by “yet God” or “but with God” and just watch how things can change.
The Bible is full of “but God” stories. Stories where something terrible changed into something good because God intervened. What is your favorite “but God” in the Bible?
Where in your life do you need to insert “but God”? 

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