But God

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,


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15 Responses to But God

  1. Amanda says:

    Loved this! Would you be able to direct me to the original sermon?

  2. Lillian says:

    Emily, thank you so much for this encouraging and convicting word, it was exactly what I needed to hear! Whenever we get tempted to feel discouraged we can take heart in the fact that Jesus Christ has already overcome this world! But for His goodness, mercy and love where would we be. Praying that you have a blessed week!

  3. Joanne says:

    Love it! Thanks for sharing…I love seeing how God’s point of view and the scripture turns everything around for our natural selves.

  4. Katy says:

    Sadly I think Christian culture teaches us to expect the worst from God. When I was open and honest with friends and family about praying for a spouse, some made it sound like I needed to pray to accept my circumstances or pray that God would change my heart (things I was also praying) Its like people didn’t want me to pray spefically for a spouse because I might be dissapointed or they were afraid I’d get my hopes up or how would they explain it if God didn’t come through for me in a big way?

    This isn’t to say that God answers all prayers — or that he answers them the way we think He will or should. But I think its dangerous for us to act like God can’t move, work, heal, change. Like all He can do is make us a little more content with our current circumstances, He can’t or wouldn’t actually change those circumstances would He?

    I think we are so scared to hope and hear NO that we don’t hope at all.

    I prayed boldy for years for marriage and now I am finally engaged. And I plan on continuing to pray boldly for singles, struggling marriages, couples waiting for babies, those who are sick.

    God may choose not to heal or save or provide (in the way we think he will) but He is the only One who can so I will pray. And now I will pray “BUT GOD” Because no matter how he moves, He can and will bring Hope.

    • Emily says:

      Katy, thanks so much for sharing your story! I’ve often found myself praying that God would help me build relationships with others (nice and vague) because I was doubting His provision and goodness, even if He kept saying “No” or “Wait.” We do need to pray specifically and boldly! Praising God with you for your answered prayer. 🙂

  5. Jodi says:

    Good word (pun intended!) 😉 Thank you, Emily!

  6. halennox says:

    I agree with both Oliver and Robin. “Seemingly impossible situations… but God!” Love it! Thanks, Emily!

  7. Oliver says:

    I had begun begun to feel the tell-tale signs of weariness in this prayer that seemed to show no signs of bringing me closer to an answer, BUT God used this week’s post to remind me that He is in the habit of making the impossible, possible. Thank you, Emily!

  8. Robin says:

    LOVE this! Am encouraged by all the fast.pray emails but this was definitely a highlight. Good word, Emily!

    • fast. pray. says:

      Thanks, Robin! This sermon made such an impact on me that I had to share the main ideas and what I have been thinking about as a result. Glad it was a blessing to you as well!

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