One of my pastors mentors me from the grave. For inspiration, learning, and direction, I often turn to the late, great pastor, Ray Stedman (click here to learn more: Ray Stedman). Today I read this from him, and thought I’d give it a try:
If you want a wonderful experience, take your New Testament and use a concordance to look up the two little words, “but God.” See how many times human resources have been brought to an utter end; despair has gripped the heart and pessimism and gloom has settled upon a people; and there is nothing that can be done. Then see how the Spirit of God writes in luminous letters, “but God,” and the whole situation changes into victory. (Ray Stedman)
God is the Lord of Reversals. He can turn around the darkest moment, reverse the bleakest fortunes, and upend the devil’s most diabolical plan. When life falls apart, God reaches down with his mighty hand of grace to mend, to heal, to fix, to help, to win the day. Life is hard, “but God…” Here are a dozen great promises, a dozen “But Gods” to cling to in life’s toughest hours.
- “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. (Genesis 50:20, NKJV). Though great evil came Joseph’s way, God’s hand of power never let him go. God is able to convert life’s tragedies into blessings no words can describe.
- And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. (2 Chronicles 20:15, NKJV). I know, this one does not fit the mold grammatically, but how could I skip it? The great promise on the eve of battle rings true forevermore, in every struggle, every trial, every loss, and every distress: the battle is not yours, but God’s. Whatever giant you face today, go forth in the power of God; be at peace in his perfect promise.
- My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalms 73:26, NKJV). We come to the end of our resources, we want to quit, give up, fall into despair… but God comes in with strength from above and love that knows no bounds. He will strengthen you, uphold you, encourage you, comfort you, and fortify you for the battles ahead.
- The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters; But God will rebuke them and they will flee far away, And be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind, Like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. (Isaiah 17:13, NKJV). For all who fret over the global political scene, here is hope. Your God is greater than the mightiest nation, ruler, or king. He will work through them and in spite of them to accomplish his glorious plan. He lifts them up, and when the time comes, he brings them down. The rulers of this world may seem almighty, but your omnipotent God towers above them forever.
- Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. (Acts 10:28, NKJV). Here, God reverses Peter’s lifetime of religious bigotry and the whole kosher system of the law. The law rendered us unclean, but God, by his mercy, washed us, brought us to his banqueting table, and made us his own.
- “But God raised Him from the dead. (Acts 13:30, NKJV). The ultimate victory. Here is hope for life’s darkest hour, peace in life’s fiercest storm, comfort in life’s saddest moments, and faith for life’s biggest obstacles. If God can conquer death, he can conquer whatever foes assail you today.
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How has God reversed your hardship? Has a bad situation turned into something good for you? Share in the comments your own “but God” story…