In yesterday’s blog, “But” Out, I encouraged all of us to leave the “but” out when giving thanks. Often we know that we have much to be thankful for, but… And that “but” robs us of the joy of the blessing. I am blessed to have a nice home, but it needs a new roof and I can’t afford one right now. I am blessed to be able to write this blog, but there’s so much more I want to do with Apprehending Grace Ministries and I simply don’t have the time. In each case, I rejoice over the blessing, but before that rejoicing is fully enjoyed, the “but” steals all or part of my joy. So let’s choose to leave the “but” out so that we can fully enjoy the blessing!

There is, however, a time for putting the “but” in, and that’s when we are focusing on the “buts” of God. Two of my favorite phrases in the Bible are “but God…” and “but the Lord…” They are the phrases that indicate a tremendous change in circumstance that would not have happened had it not been for a sovereign move of our Lord on behalf of an individual or group of people. There are many verses in the Bible where you’ll find these phrases. I’ve organized a few of them according to the action God took when He sovereignly interrupted others’ lives throughout history. We can count on God to do the same thing in our lives.

God’s Supernatural Protection

Day after day Saul searched for [David], but God did not give David into his hands.
1 Samuel 23:14b

You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge.
Psalm 14:6

I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.
Psalm 118:13

A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.
Psalm 34:19

We can trust God to protect us when we are in danger and when others attack us or seek our destruction.

God’s Supernatural Care and Provision

But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.
Genesis 8:1

I love this verse – “But God remembered Noah…” It gives me confidence that when I have stepped out for Him, as Noah did, He will remember me and send whatever is needed to care and provide for me.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73: 26

Sometimes we can’t see what God is doing – in the natural it seems that our flesh and heart are failing. Even in those times, God can be our strength and we have the promise that He is our portion (or inheritance) forever.

God’s Supernatural Move to Accomplish His Will
I love this category of verses. God moves in and through the lives of people, despite their circumstances and abilities, to accomplish His will. I love it because of the promise that His plan will be accomplished and I love it because it promises that He can use me despite my circumstances and abilities.

[Joseph is speaking to his brothers and says] “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

21“We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22Before our eyes the LORD sent miraculous signs and wonders—great and terrible—upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers.
Deuteronomy 6:21-23

9Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt; so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.
Acts 7:9-10

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

14Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. 15But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’
Amos: 7:14-15

But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah 1:17

God can intervene in the midst of our rebellion. Sometimes that intervention is unpleasant because God knows what is required to get our attention and turn us around. Jonah repented in the belly of the great fish and cried out to the Lord for help. God did just that and Jonah went on to preach to the Ninevites who all repented and turned to the Lord.

God’s Supernatural Insight

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7b

God’s Supernatural Healing

Indeed he [Epaphroditus] was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.
Philippians 2:30

God’s Supernatural Salvation

Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.
2 Samuel 14:14

This is another of my favorite verses. Death seems so final and irreversible…“But God…devises ways…” I love serving a God of infinite possibilities.

But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.
Psalm 49:15

23This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Acts 2:23-24

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

This is the verse that God used most when I was struggling to understand Him and trust Him with my life. I was resisting Him, but He loved me through it.

4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions…And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4-7

We were dead in our transgressions and sins, “but God” chose to give us life. Not just any life, but life in Christ. And He chose to raise us up with Him and seat us with Him in heavenly realms. Why? So that in the coming ages He might show us the incomparable riches of His grace.

“But God…”
No matter what our circumstances are, we can trust that God will move to change them. In an instant, our story will change from “I am in great need” to “but God provided for me;” or “but God delivered me.” I didn’t include all the instances of God interrupting the flow of history and changing life circumstances. If you’ve been reading the references, you noticed that the verses come from both the Old and New Testament and cover from the beginning of time through all of eternity. God has always been at work in the lives of His people (and often in the lives of those who deny Him) and He always will be.

Yesterday we were encouraged to leave the “but” out of our thanksgiving. Today, I am encouraging to put the “but God” into our circumstances. Trust the God you know to meet your needs, whether they are for healing, provision, comfort or salvation. He has proven Himself faithful over the millennia – why should we choose to believe the lies of satan that He will abandon us now?

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