Reminder: we are fasting and praying for the Lord to bring men and women into relationship with Him, for men to lead in the church and in relationships, for change in the disobedient areas of our hearts, and for God-honoring marriages for those who desire them.
I recently heard a convicting sermon that challenged me to change the way I use a simple, every-day word. That word is “but.”
Here’s how I use “but” on a regular basis:
- “I had a great day at work, but I got stuck in traffic on the way home.”
- “It was nice to be on vacation, but the weather wasn’t cooperative.”
- “I know God provides, but I don’t feel His provision in this area of my life.”
The pastor pointed out that we (I) use “but” to signal a tone of failure or despair – things not going the way we want. So true! I use “but” all the time to complain about my circumstances, marring something positive by connecting it to something negative.
However, here’s how God uses “but” in His Word:
- “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Joseph speaking to his brothers in Genesis 50:20)
- “You…put Him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised Him from the dead…because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.” (Peter preaching to the crowds on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:23-24)
- “You were dead in your trespasses and sins…But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ.” (Ephesians 2:1-4)
When God uses “but,” it’s to highlight the hope and the victory that comes from His all-knowing, all-powerful, loving intervention in our seemingly hopeless situations. Amen. In each of these “but God” examples in Scripture, only a supernatural act of God could make what happened come to be.
“But” is a coordinating conjunction (sorry, the English major in me coming out) that signals a change or contrast. God is the change we need in our lives. God is the opposite of our fear, our worry, our loneliness. Those two words, “but God,” silence my negativity and doubt.
So with that in mind, this week, as I fast and pray, I am going to claim the “but God” promise. Lack of and/or struggling marriages – but God. Lack of men leading in relationships and in the church – but God. My stubborn, complaining, selfish heart – but God.
To Him be the glory for the work He has done and has yet to do,