114. …BUT GOD!

(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 2)

In this life, I have had many moments that I have been up but I have also had many downturns. As a child of God, I was never promised a bed of roses or a seat of comfort but that Jesus would be with me through everything and would never leave me or forsake me and he has been true to his word!

No matter what, he is there to encourage me and to strengthen me and even in moments of silence, I feel him strengthening me. He is truly the best friend I have ever known and he truly sticks closer than any person I have ever known or will ever know.

When we go through our down times, some people say that we ought not to admit it but ought to only declare positive things. They quote Proverbs 18:21 which says that death and life are in the power of the tongue and tell us that we must only speak what we want to see or obtain. However, apart from this verse often being exploited and in my humble opinion, misinterpreted, I am of the view that it is perfectly okay to be honest with ourselves and God and to call a spade, a spade. Whatever we are facing, we ought not to wallow in self-pity but we should tell it like it is.

If the situation is bad, then it is bad. No nice, flowery, positive words can colour it beautiful. If we are in a mess, saying so doesn’t mean that we are being negative. If we are afraid or lonely or things are really upside down in our lives, it is okay to let God know. It is okay to be honest with him and to let him know exactly what is happening. When before his throne in prayer, feel free to call the situation for what it is instead of sugar coating it to make ourselves and the world feel better.

According to John 8:32, it is the truth that shall make us free, not pretending that a situation is what it is not.

If then you are at a point in life where you have no idea what to do, it is okay to admit it. We were never expected to have the answers to our problems all of the time or to be strong all of the time. We are expected though, to keep our eyes always on Jesus.

In short, it is okay to say, “Lord, my life is in a mess. I don’t have a clue how to handle this problem. Things are really, really bad. My situation is really, really dead, to the point where it stinks and I’m scared!”

In fact, there are examples in the Bible of people who did just that! They told God just as is, acknowledged their weakness before him and confessed to him that in their own strength, things would be hopeless…BUT GOD. By this I mean that they were frank in their speech and told God that things were bad, really bad but they qualified this by ending their petition with what I call BUT GOD statements!

They were in essence saying, I am down and out and my situation is practically dead. It is so bad that it can’t possibly get any worse. I am insufficient in myself and am sure to faint in my own strength. I admit I don’t have the solution BUT YOU GOD can make a difference!

After pouring out their problem or complaint to God therefore, these people reminded God of who he was, confident that he could turn the tide of their situation around. In essence, they were basically saying: “Lord, this is the reality of what I’m dealing with. This is the mountain in front of my BUT I KNOW that you can handle it.”

For example, DAVID understood this. In Psalm 27:13, he acknowledged when he had been under attack, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” In other words, he was saying, that he would have been a goner for sure… BUT GOD!

Then there was the man JAIRUS in Matthew 9:18, whose daughter had died. He did not sugarcoat the reality of what had happened but told Jesus as is. He told him: “My daughter is even now dead.” 

However, he did not stop there. Although his daughter’s blood had grown cold and her heart had stopped beating and people were wailing as if they were without hope, he knew that he was standing before the “…Resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). He knew and believed that Jesus had the power to raise his daughter back to life and to therefore make the difference, so he made a BUT GOD statement!

The entire verse reads: “While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her and she shall live.”

Did you see that? He said that she was “…even now dead…BUT come…and she shall live.”

In Jesus there is hope no matter what! Not even death means the situation is hopeless, whether it is death of a job, death of finances, death of a relationship, death of a marriage or the death of a loved one!

Then we have JEHOSHAPHAT, that great King of Judah. As great as he was, he knew that there were some things that he could not do in his own strength and so he humbled himself before the Lord in those situations.

At one point during his reign, he found himself in quite a lot of trouble because at least three sets of people had united forces to take him and his people out. There was no way he could be victorious in his own abilities as he and his people were simply outnumbered by this vast army that was coming to destroy them.

The Bible states in 2 Chronicles 20:1-3 that:

  • “It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab and the children of Ammon and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle. Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and behold, they be in Hazazon-tamar, which is En-gedi. And Jehoshaphat feared and set himself to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”

Jehoshaphat kept it real when he prayed. He did not come pretending that everything was okay. He was afraid.

Maybe as king, he maintained a strong front when the people who came with the news told him what was about to come up against him and Judah. However, when he went before his Lord, he did not mince his words. He was real. He was vulnerable. For, the situation was really, really, really bad and he told God just that.

However, he qualified his words with a BUT GOD statement! He said to God that the situation was so bad, that he had not a clue what to do but that he KNEW that as bad as things were, God could make the difference! In verse 12 he prayed: “…for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: BUT our eyes are upon thee.”

In other words, he was saying, I have not a clue what to do BUT you Lord can make the difference! You Lord can still turn things around in our favour. You Lord can make us victorious, despite all that we have heard and how large the army is and how little we are in comparison and how fearful we feel and how hopeless the situation looks because thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Last but not least, we have the example of MARTHA, whose brother Lazarus had died and in fact was rotting for four days! BUT Jesus came.

Although, as she spoke, worms had probably already covered her brother’s dead and putrefying body, she dared to use the BUT GOD statement to qualify her statement when talking to Jesus. She said in John 11:21-22: “…Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. BUT I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.”

When she used the BUT GOD statement, she meant that she believed that there was still hope that one day, at the resurrection, Jesus would raise her brother back to life again. But she was still underestimating the BUT GOD power!

Jesus let her know that life was contained in him so that he did not even need to wait until the time of the resurrection to do what to man was impossible. He could raise him from the dead even now. He told her: “…I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

That verse sums everything up beautifully. Be honest with God. Let him know when things are out of control and even dead in your life but be sure to apply the BUT GOD statement, if you want it to change, believing by faith, that he can do it. Let him know that you believe, without a shadow of a doubt that in him lies resurrection power, that he can turn any situation, no matter how bad or how long you have been going through it, around.

You may be at your wits end yes …BUT GOD! You may be tired and even frustrated ….BUT GOD!

He is the God that mends dead marriages, heals the sick, gives spouses to those who have spent all of their lives single or made foolish mistakes and fills the dead womb of the barren with children. He defies age, time, what people say, what people think and even death itself!

People may consider you to be a write-off…BUT GOD!

Indeed, even when God views our problems from his vantage point in heaven, he is real as to the challenges we face, contrary to the popular but non-biblical popular opinion advanced in some so-called Christian circles today. They say that we should not confess anything with our lips that is negative, even when it is the truth, so that if you have a cold, you should lie and say in advance, that you are well. However, while one should not go about in life seeing things in a negative light, calling something truthfully what it is in that moment is not being negative. It is being truthful and the Bible says that the truth will set you free, not self-deception or delusion.

In the case of Manoah’s wife for example, we see that God, operating through the angel that appeared to her was real about her situation without any sugarcoating. The fact was that she could not have children, as was evident in the futile efforts of she and her husband to bring about conception.

When the angel of the Lord visited her, he did not try to deceive her by pretending that the situation was what it was not. The angel did not ignore reality so as to confess something positive. He said it like it was. He told her frankly: “…Behold now, thou art barren and bearest not…”

In so doing, he bluntly acknowledged the painful reality of this husband and wife but he did not leave it there. He qualified the problem by immediately applying the solution. He ended with a BUT GOD statement.

In the entirety, he said: “…Behold now, thou art barren and bearest not BUT thou shalt conceive and bear a son.”

Miracles don’t really come therefore, from us just walking around deceiving ourselves with ‘positive statements’ that have no bearing on reality. The miracles come in our acknowledging our problem, that we don’t have the solution BUT GOD does. When we have firm faith that no matter what and how bad things are (and sometimes they are), that God can step in and make the difference, then he is well pleased and if he decides to move, miracles usually happen.

Absolutely nothing is too hard for him to do but even if it is within his will to do the seemingly impossible, in most cases because God chooses to operate through our faith in him, you have to want it and believe it, to see it come to pass in your life.

When Martha began to focus on the magnitude of the problem and not on Jesus’s power to transform it, she protested, “…Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.”

See, Jesus, who had deliberately stayed away for such a time as this, had allowed Lazarus to go from bad to worse and then to worst by dying. He then continued to stay away for a whole day and then another and then another and then another, so that Lazarus had been dead and rotting for four days!

Because he is a God that is deliberate, strategic and intentional though, he did it to send the message, that he is the God that has power to resurrect even the most dead and hopeless of situations, if we will only believe!

In verse 40, he responded to Martha with one BUT GOD question before he performed his miracle: “…Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?”

Amen!

What are you facing today? It doesn’t matter because BUT GOD.

If you don’t yet know Jesus as Lord and Saviour, know that he can intervene if you want him to and make the difference. All you have to do is believe on his Son the Lord Jesus Christ, that he died for your sins, was raised again on the third day and is coming back one day for those that believe on him.

And if you believe this truth, then why can’t you believe that he can do the impossible in your life? In him lies resurrection power and that means he can bring any dead situation to life. He can turn anything around and calm any storm.

Allow him to be glorified through your circumstances. Allow him to do what seems to be impossible to men by believing that he can do it and asking him to. Then, when people ask you what happened and how life was so suddenly breathed into your dead circumstances, simply say, as I have purposed in my heart to say: …BUT GOD!

IN CLOSING

Jesus himself experienced a BUT GOD moment, although he was God the Son. In Acts 13: 28-30, Paul, in speaking about how Jesus was crucified wrongfully but then was miraculously brought back to life said:

  • “And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a sepulchure. BUT GOD raised him from the dead.”

God’s power is limitless. There is no problem that can stand in the face of BUT GOD faith! Apply it to your life and to your circumstance and watch God move.

(Written on 18th April, 2016)

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