Never Leave Out the ‘BUT’

Galatians 5:19-23; 6:13-14

For years I have kept journals. While looking for something else, I found the following. It came from a time in my life when Satan’s attacks were coming brutally from all directions. Wounded and in shock, my devotions (God) led me to the 77th Psalm. Looking back I know it helped teach me a huge lesson in my life…I don’t know where you are at today, but God led me to share…(when God teaches me a lesson, I write it in a form to share with my family, so if they read my journals they too might be “encouraged in the Lord”)

Few words can change a situation, an attitude, a fact like the word “but”. I love finding a life alternating “but” in the Bible. How many do you know? “For scarely for a righteous man will one die…BUT God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 “…the works of the flesh are …adultery, fornication, uncleanness…BUT the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering…” Galatians 5:19-23 “…they may glory in your flesh. BUT God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Gal 6:13-14 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world: BUT that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17 The list can go on and on, how things change when the little word “but” appears.

Psalm 77 is one of twelve psalms written by Asaph for the nation of Israel. In this Psalm we find Asaph “overwhelmed” and disheartened. His words betray his struggle… “ I cried…” “my trouble…ceased not”…”my soul refused to be comforted”… “Thou holdest mine eyes waking (I can’t sleep)”…”I am so troubled that I cannot speak” …” “Is his (God) mercy clean gone forever?” “…will he(God) be favorable no more?” Maybe you cannot express yourself as poetically, but you have been where Asaph finds himself. I am there now.

“This is my infirmity; BUT…” This small word changes everything in Asaph’s attitude. Asaph chooses not to stay marred down with the infirmity, he digs in deep, he puts his game face on and fights the devil with the best tool he has- Praise!

He remembers all that God had done, in his life and in the history of Israel. “I call to rememberance my song in the night.” “I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember thy wonders of old”(crossing the Red Sea verses 15-20).

Asaph then begins to praise God for who he is. “…who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders; …thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people (Israel)…”

And in chapter 78 Asaph remembers the importance of teaching children praise, through example. “We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord…” “That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children. That they might set their hope in God, and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation.” When we leave the “but” out or our lives , we discount all God has done for us. We damage our relationship with him , by ignoring who God is. And we give our children reason to doubt God and choose rebellion over praise. It is so important we never leave the “but” out of our story, for in the “but” we find Him.