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Sermon of the week

Waiting anxiously the arrival of a ‘but’

Because opportunities to attend services may be limited for several weeks, the newspaper has invited local clergy to submit sermons for publication here.

Pastor
First Baptist Church, Durham

When I was younger, like half a century younger — yikes — I hated to hear the word “but.”

“I know you’d like to go out and play, but you have too many chores to finish.”

“It does look like a fun toy, but you don’t have enough money to buy it right now.”

“Maybe your sister did hit you first, but she’s just a little girl and you can’t hit her back”

The list could get long. It wasn’t until I came across the story of Noah (Genesis 7, 8) that I began to think differently about the term. The story tells how wicked the human race had become and how displeased God was the whole lot of us.

Then, in verse 1 of chapter 8 we have these dynamic words: “But God remembered Noah.”

Silly as it might sound, as I read that verse so many years ago, I decided “but” wasn’t always such a bad term. Have you ever thought about the significance of the phrase “But God”?

We see it in Genesis 50 with Joseph after his mistreatment by his brothers.

“You meant it for evil. But God meant it for good.”

In I Samuel 23, where Saul is after David to kill him, we read, “But God did not give David into his hands.”

But God. There’s plenty more examples of this important truth in scripture. I especially enjoy reading the ones relating to our relationship with the Lord.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able.” (I Corinthians 10)

Here’s one of my favorites: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…” (Ephesians 2)

There’s comfort in the truth of “but God.”

You can’t, but God can.

No one understands your concerns, but God does. No one is in control of this crazy world, but God is. No one can give me the comfort and strength I need, but God can. No one keeps their promises anymore, but God does. No one can love someone like me, but God does.

No matter what is going on in your life right now, remember but God. His presence, His involvement in your life, changes everything.

Last modified June 3, 2020

 

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