In my life the word “but” is usually a dreaded addition to any sentence. It is often found in phrases that seem to set me up, then knock me down.
“You get a lollipop, BUT the shot will hurt a little”
“Sure you can skip brushing your teeth, BUT eventually you will lose them all”
“Go ahead and do what you want, BUT don’t say I did not warn you”
“Enjoy that second ice cream scoop, BUT plan on having to work it off later.”
“I will loan you my car, BUT you will need to put gas in it.”
“We appreciate your enthusiasm, BUT you really can’t sing”
“I’d like to help you, BUT (insert any activity you can think of to avoid helping)”
This list could go on, BUT I am certain you get the idea. It is rare that the word “but” in a phrase could bring me peace. Last Sunday our pastor referenced a scripture in which the word “but” not only overwhelmed me with peace, but it has brought me to my knees in prayer since then. This very BIG, very important “BUT” reminded me that no matter what I feel is pressing on me, discouraging me, tempting me or frightening me, my God has conquered it all.
” These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you have peace. In the world you have tribulation, BUT take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
I have a plaque hanging in my kitchen…it reminds me each day to “Don’t tell God how big your storm is, tell the storm how big your God is” It sits beside our coffee maker, I see it every morning (several times even), yet I still manage to forget we are not victims, but victorious in Christ Jesus. Too often I let the storms/tribulations in life, or in the lives of those I love, overwhelm me.
Each day, online news feeds and television programs assault us with the truth of worldwide tribulations. People are struggling, hurting, fighting and dying. It is hard to not feel an overwhelming sense of fear for the future……BUT, consider Who holds our future and take courage!
Maybe for you today, “tribulation” is nothing more than a coworker who is unkind, an unhealthy relationship, or an overwhelming task. Maybe you understand “tribulation” to be a loss of a loved one. “Tribulation” could be a medical crisis, an emotional valley, or uncertain future. Sometimes our “tribulations” are the result of our own choices, consequences God allows to come into our lives. Sometimes they are the natural consequence of the sin nature of our world. Maybe God is allowing a “tribulation” to impact us in order to guide or redirect us…..BUT, take courage…..He has overcome the world!