But God! But God! But God! But God
But God! But God! But God!
My Reader, what comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “But God” that I used in the title of my blog for today? It can be taken as an argumentative phrase or a phrase of exaltation. I will have to admit that I have used these words from both perspectives. Let me explain.
When I am facing a challenge or a difficult situation, one of the things I like to do is to find a few scripture verses to claim during this time of turmoil. However, I sometimes have trouble fully standing on God’s Word. For example, Matthew 7:7&8 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” So, I ask, seek and knock being fully aware that God is hearing my requests. However, I do not stop with just these words. I add, “but God” I really want an answer now! I want clear direction for what I am to do. Why am I not hearing from You?” Another verse I might claim is Psalm 56:11, “In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”Hear how I might respond, “Yes, God, according to Psalm 56:11, I am trusting You and I do not want to be afraid, but God this situation is different and I am afraid! Show me that I can trust You by answering my prayer in a positive way now!” I believe, and yet there is an element of unbelief. I read James 1:6-8 which says, “ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” Hmmm. I don’t want to be double-minded, so what can I do? I find another scripture where I identify with the man who cried out to Jesus saying in Mark 9:24, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” As I ask the Lord to help my unbelief, I discover that I am able to remove the phrase “but God” from my vocabulary and I am able to ask, seek and knock with a trusting attitude and not be fearful. For me, “but God” is no longer an argumentative phrase but is now a phrase of exaltation unto the Lord.
How can “but God” become a phrase of exaltation? To answer my own question, I turn to the story in Genesis 37-50 of Joseph and how he was treated by his brothers. Summarizing the events of his life, Joseph concludes by telling his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Joseph was a man of great faith who was able to comprehend how God worked in both the good and the bad experiences of his life. Paul later confirms this attitude of faith when he says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I have a friend who has a wonderful testimony about how God has worked in her life and she often uses the phrase “but God” when relating her story. Shortly after she and her husband moved to a different state, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She did not know anyone with breast cancer at that time. Her treatment included a double mastectomy, a second surgery, and 8 chemo treatments followed by 5 years of chemo drugs. I now quote her, “But God ….intended it for GOOD: Thus ‘Women Of Hope’ Cancer Support Group was started about 7 years ago.” She also told me of the death of her twin brother when they were only 46 years old. Again I quote her, “But God…..intended it for GOOD: God called me into AIDS Ministry. I started a grief support group for mothers in my home for 9 years. Where else could mothers go to weep & talk about their sons & daughters in the late 1980’s? Thus, I was an AIDS spokeswoman for 12 years. Our GOD is Good & Faithful! He took me through these dark nights.”
After reading God’s Word and hearing my friend’s personal testimony, how can I not exclaim “But God!” in a positive tone? How can I even think of arguing with God by assuming I have any right to ask, “But God”? My faith is strengthened and, at least at this moment, I proclaim and identify with Job 42:1, “I know that you (the Lord) can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.”
How about you, my Reader? Do the same feelings arise in you now that you had when you first read “But God” as the title of my blog?
Challenge for the week: Exalt the Lord at least one time this week by using the phrase “But God” in a positive way during a conversation with a friend.
But God! But God! But God!
But God! But God! But God! But God!