Mar 2, 2012

But God…

but-godJust two words. It doesn’t seem like much. It doesn’t seem finished. To some, they would simply pass over  it without a second thought.

However, in those two words hangs the balance of eternity and hope.

Recently I was talking with someone about circumstances in their life. They were really struggling with a situation that was out of their control and really had no idea what to do.

I think we all go through those moments when it seems all is lost.  Even Jesus’ disciples had their moments when it seemed like there was nothing they could do to fix the situation.

In fact, Jesus himself was in the garden praying alone as the others had fallen asleep, and was facing the cross and his humanity was groaning in agony. He did not want to die. He did not want to endure the pain.  Who can blame Him?

I have heard some say, ‘He was God. He knew what was going to happen.’ And He did. But the flesh was in agony just the way we would be in a crisis or a painful situation out of our control.

I know in my own life there have been times that anything would have been easier than facing the things I had to go through.  I would have walked on broken glass, gave away all my worldly possessions, done pretty much anything to not have to go through the trial. But it was not in my control. 

All I could do was be patient, try and keep going, and hope and pray that somehow it would change, or that I would have the strength to endure it.

It seems macabre to think about it, but it was Jesus’ destiny to endure the cross for our salvation. To most of us we don’t really think about the humanity, the flesh, the analytical mind of Jesus. When we think of Him we think of Him as the almighty powerful one. But His human body had the same genetic makeup as ours. He could hurt. He could cry. He could feel sad. He could be hungry, and even though He knew what was expected, it was the same as it would be with any of us.

Sometimes we get bold and proclaim in the midst of watching calamity face others that if it happened to us, we ‘would handle it better, not get upset, just accept it.’  The reality however, is that when we are faced with a death of a child, a divorce, a wrecked car, our house burn down, or perhaps even someone saying something about us that is not true, we hurt too. And in our moments of pain, we might lash out at others, feel hopeless and rejected, or even just give up on life.


But is a conjunction. It is used in contrasting something already mentioned with another.

(example: I like red tulips, but my wife likes white roses better.)

It shows the difference on one side or other of the conjunction.

So, when faced with a situation, I know what I would want but that doesn’t mean it will turn out the way I want. It could be worse. It could be better.

The person I was talking to their situation did look hopeless to them, in fact it did to me as well. I did agree to pray however, and didn’t hear back for several days. 

Being honest, even though I know prayer works, there are times when I end up with doubts, even about the things I pray about for others. And when it comes to myself, well… we won’t go there.

I was hopeful, but not expecting a good result.

Then Why?

You may be wondering why pray for someone if you do not believe you are going to see a good result?  We have all heard that if we pray and do not have faith, it will not happen. Most of us have been prayed for at one time or other and never had a result.

At times we might think that the person praying for me does not have any faith. I used to be of the opinion that if you don’t believe you should not pray for anyone.  It just makes sense.

There have been times that I have not wanted some people to pray for me, simply because I did not believe that they had any faith, and I already knew my faith was shaken.

Now, this is not the same as having a negative person pray for you. To clarify, there are some who it seems every word out of their mouth is negative. They are filled with so much doubt about everything that it is always, ‘I don’t know, I am not sure’, or the fall back one that nearly everyone uses but it is still a negative statement, ‘we will see.’

When you say ‘we will see,’ you are already expressing doubt for whatever situation, circumstance, need, desire and so it is basically pointless at that moment. Those people I still do not want to pray for me.

But God

Those two tiny words. The title of this article. When you add God to the but, it changes everything.

I would try and explain God, but there isn’t enough room, time, or intellect to do so. And even if I could, you probably would not understand.

But God is the biggest game changer of all.

We could relate many stories from the Old or New Testament where God’s people were in situations out of their control. Mixed with uncertainty or possibly even dying at the hand of the enemy and it all looked like nothing good could come from it, but God stepped in and changed the picture.

And it really made a difference in the battle which side of the but God you were on. If you were on the side needing his help, then you were going to have success. If you were on the opposite side from the intentions of God however, well, you were finished. There was no maybe, we will see, or what shall we do involved. The situation was going to change, for the good or the bad. You just better be on the right side of the change.

But God In Your Life

Remember when we talked about praying without faith for others? I do believe it can work when we pray for ourselves too. And let me explain why.

We may be in the midst of our darkest despair. We may be going through something that we cannot deal with at all.   We may want to pack it in and just give up on life, on our situation, even on God.

If you tell people you have given up on God, the reaction from most is ‘how dare you?’ Or how can you possibly say that. Trust me, I have been in those situations and had people look like they wanted to slap me.  But, God understands.

He lived a human life. He knows how it feels. The prophets of old are even described as being of like passions such as we are. They got mad, they cried, they felt rejected.  They had their moments of not trusting God as well and yet they were used of God in mighty ways. So, when someone says if we ‘do not have faith we should not bother to pray, ‘ IGNORE THEM!

If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. 2 Timothy 2:13

So you see, even if we do not have the faith to believe, God does. When someone asks for prayer, regardless of the situation, they are displaying at least a morsel of faith, and when you agree to pray, then you are giving them even more faith, even if you have your own doubts. So, there is always a reason to pray for someone else.

Who knows, it might even be what you need to get your own victory.

We may not expect or even believe in a good result but we have to remember it is not up to us.

The disciples were headed to the other side of sea. Jesus was tired and went to sleep in the bottom of the boat. A storm arose, and whipped the boat around, lightning, thunder crashing, waves overflowing the boat. They were afraid. Most of us would have been.

This took place after Jesus fed 5000 with just a little boys lunch so you would have thought the disciples would have had plenty of faith, but they too were human. This wasn’t breaking up morsels of food, this was a storm that could take their lives.

These were men who walked and talked with Jesus on a daily basis. They knew Him in the personal relationship that most of us wish we could have. Surely, we would react differently?

In their fear, they woke him up. He arose, rebuked the wind, calmed the sea and there was peace upon the waters.  The situation had been scary to the point of death. We have all been there too. But God stepped in and it was all calm.

I remember several years ago a teen girl was in a very bad car wreck. She had severe head trauma, paralyzed on one side, was in a coma, on life support and the doctors were doing everything they could to keep her alive.

She lived on the machines with oxygen being forced into her lungs,  remaining in the coma for several months. Family members, ministers would go visit her and pray, and talk to her and be positive in the room because they say coma patients can hear what you say.

Finally, the family and the doctors both agreed that there was nothing they could do to change her situation. There didn’t seem to be any brainwave activity, she was basically laying on the bed not moving, the only sounds in the room were the beeps and hums of the machines that kept her breathing. They decided to take her off the machines and oxygen.

About an hour later she woke up.  She still had some difficulties with motor skills being partially paralyzed, but she was alive. Her eyes were open, and she could interact with the doctors, family, and friends. She went back to school.

She ended up graduating high school with honors.

Life for her seemed hopeless. It seemed over. There was nothing anyone could do. But God…

Let God

When God steps into the picture your situation is going to change. One way or other change is coming.

Facing sickness, even death? Financial needs? Relationship problems? Need a job? Discouraged? Lost in sin?

Whatever the circumstance may be, we can only do so much, and most things are simply out of our control. There may not be anything we can do about it. It is easy to get upset, worry, let our emotions get the best of us and most of the time we just try and take care of everything on our own, after all ‘we know best.’

But God can transform the situation. He can taken the most dire circumstance and make it turn out for His glory. Give it to Him. Get your victory!