Saturday, January 24, 2015

But God

As I was reading through the dramatic life & times of Jacob (soap opera extraordinaire), I settled in on the passages associated with his abuse at the hands of his father-in-law.  In so doing, I zeroed in on their contentious exchange ~ the one that had brewed for 20 years ~ as well the conjunction that put it all into perspective:   


"... you would surely have sent me away
empty-handed.  But God ...".  
(Genesis 31:42)  

I've seen it countless times in scripture.  In fact, if I fast-forward 19 chapters I can see it again in one of the most notably profound passages; an exclamation by Jacob's own son, Joseph, directed at his jealous, impetuous & murder-bent brothers:  


"You intended to harm me, 
but God intended it for good to 
accomplish what is now being done, 
the saving of many lives."  
(Genesis 50:20).

Satan thwarts Eden's promise ... But God ...
Sarah is barren ... But God ...
Jacob is a deceiver ... But God ...
Hannah is barren ... But God ...
The Prophets of Baal are murderous ... But God ...
Rahab is a woman of ill repute ... But God ...
Ruth is a widow and not Semitic ... But God ...
Haman (& Hitler) had the perfect plan to annihilate the Jews ... But God ...
David is in Saul's crosshairs ... But God ...
Peter's locked behind prison walls ... But God ...
Jesus lay dead in a grave ... But God ...

The fact is, absent gadgets or mirrors, none of us can see around corners or through mountains.  Come to think of it, I cannot always see even in the known of the clear light of day given my human short-sightedness (literally & figuratively). God has no such constraint.  

I've watched & prayed for several years now while someone dear to me has struggled with being unemployed, then under-employed. There haven't been sufficient funds for many of the needful things of life.  It has stressed & strained the very fabric of that family, seemingly a never-ending struggle.  Several near misses in terms of job opportunities served only to etch deep grooves in their sense of cynicism until, that is, several weeks ago a new day unfolded.  A new job; a better income.        

But God ...


In my life and yours there have been countless times, especially if you've lived long, that were (or are) bleak and difficult.  Some of those times were utterly hopeless.  Taunting tears & fears threatened.  We were touched by the hideous sting of discouragement; maybe even despair.  Then somehow or some way a new perspective took root, or an end to that awful thing arrived. Fresh air blew the stench clean away.


But God ...


So today as I look at so many concerning items in the world of loved ones, of our nation, of radical ideologies, of the economy, of my own advancing age & so much more, I take comfort.  Rarely, if ever, do I get to fill in the blank that follows but God with an item of my own choosing, but I can trust that whatever is penned there is by His own hand. 


But God ...






8 comments:

Janette Wright said...

If the only reason you wrote this today was for me to read then I want to shout...thank you God, but I know it is not just for me. I entered 2015 just wanting to hang it up...BUT GOD...circumstances repeating themselves...BUT GOD. This week was a week of break throughs, because God is still the God of Joseph and Jacob! Thanks for a wonderful piece.

manthano said...

What a word of encouragement.
That should put hope in all of us.

THANKS.

manthano said...

What a word of encouragement.
That should put hope in all of us.

THANKS.

Sonja Goodson said...

BUT GOD... wonderful words of life! Over and over again I have gone there and go there, our answer to all of life. I love the Psalm you used at the end. This about sums it all up, doesn't it? I'll share this one with Joe later, he will love this.

Just a little something from Judy said...

In my mind, this was truly one of the most profoundly true posts I have ever read in blog land! In every aspect of my life, the "But God..."is what matters. In our Bible study on the life of Joshua, the "But God..." is seen everywhere.

So beautifully shared today! I want to copy it and set it on my desk:)

rebecca said...

Trying to sort out the very real but temporary struggles in this life from "if only in this world we have hope, we are of all men most miserable". Your post contributes to my "sorting" and I thank you for sharing it.

“We have come to take all the relatively minor benefits of following Jesus and elevated them above the massive, real pleasures of knowing him, loving him, and dying and being with him forever. Everything’s out of proportion in typical American Christianity.” (Dr. John Piper who went on to say....) “I don’t want to be a comfort-seeking, entertainment-addicted, security-craving, approval-desiring Christian.”


Debbie Petras said...

So true ...but God! I look around at our world and shake my head. I do pray that Christians would live out their faith though. Too many of their lives look too much like the world. But I can only imagine what God will do with even a handful. Only God can do the impossible. I too have situations and people that I've consistently prayed for. I'm never giving up!

Love you,
Debbie

Just a little something from Judy said...

Just me, checking in on you because I miss you! My brain is going to sponge, with it not having to work overtime when reading your brilliant posts:) At least that is what I blame it on.

Keep looking up my friend!