I would imagine that I am not the only one who has, “A funny thing happened on the way to the forum” life. The first year Mike (my husband) and I took off in our motor home, our water pipes froze. We didn’t know it until we got to New Orleans because it was only there that it was warm enough to hook up to water. We watched in disbelief as the water sprayed all over the street under the RV. If it weren’t for Mike’s skill and persistence, we would have spent a boatload of money having someone fix the numerous breaks in the PVC pipe. As it was, we had no water inside for the first two weeks of our trip as he fixed the leaks, one by one. Finally, somewhere in Texas, he found and fixed the last one! I began emailing family and friends with “Trials and Travails” in the subject line since that was only the first of our many adventures in our three months on the road. I was very grateful that I could say, “This happened, but Mike…!”
I think of the phrase “But God” pretty often. I was 43 years old when I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I had lived a lot of life before him. I remember well what my life was like before him. I was all those things talked about in yesterday’s LivingItOut:
- Dead because of my sins
- Living in sin
- Obeying the devil
- Refusing to obey God
- Following the passionate desires and inclinations of my sinful nature
- Subject to God’s anger
It’s amazing how well the Apostle Paul could describe me so accurately! Some days it seems like a distant memory, but other days something will rise up from the past to remind me that I haven’t always lived a God-honoring life. I still have some rough days, and some consequences are unavoidable. It’s then that I want and need to remember:
4But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) Ephesians 2:4-5
That’s the great thing! It doesn’t depend on me! It’s God who is rich in mercy. It’s God who gave me life when he raised Christ from the dead. It’s only by his grace that I have been saved.
God left me alone to come to the end of myself, but he never left me. I see now that he had a plan and a purpose for everything that happened to me, most times as a result of my own poor choices. He has used my experiences of brokenness and being lost, more times than I can count, to help me relate personally to the woman or man in front of me. While I wouldn’t advise inflicting pain and hurt on yourself, I feel with all my heart that God’s mercy is a well that for me has never run dry. I experience his love, as wonderful and unbelievable as it is, every time I think of Jesus, of what it cost him to come. “But God” is the phrase that makes life hopeful for me. He isn’t done yet. In the hard place, in the horrible diagnosis, in the lost job or relationship or home, in the mistake you think can never be excused, there is always a “But God.”
He is the God of miracles, of second, third, fourth, fifth… chances.
He is a God of infinite promise. Joshua 21:45 says, “Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was unfulfilled; everything He had spoken came true.” and 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “All of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding ‘Yes!’ And through Christ, our Amen (which means Yes!) ascends to God for His glory.” When you know the God who always shows up on the other side of “but,” you can move forward in your life with confidence that this God has your back!
What are your “But God” stories? Write one down and share it with a friend this week.
Lord God, how thankful I am for your tender mercies, new every morning. Your faithfulness brings peace to my life regardless of my circumstances. I would be nothing and nowhere, but God I praise and worship you, my King. Amen.
This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people who God used to start CedarCreek 21 years ago, and was on staff until 2013. She and her husband Mike love to travel the country in their motor home with their kitties Jane & Mary. Lauri is passionate about prayer, and about helping women discover who they are in Christ. She doesn’t tweet but you can follow her and Mike’s adventures on Facebook here.
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