If you have read my story on this website, you will know that I use the term "but God" to describe the events that lead me to this exact place and moment in my life. Some of you may even wonder why I chose these words or what that phrase even means. I want to explain myself and why this term is SO powerful. It truly shows the working power of our good God.
The words "but God" appear 45 times in the Bible. The word "but" is typically used as a contrast word used in conjunction with an aforementioned word or phrase.
For example: I love you, but...
We know that usually what would follow this "but" would be something counteractive and in contrast to "I love you" and would most likely be taken negatively.
However, when we see the use of "but God" in the Bible, it is almost like the pairing of the name of God with the word but gives it an entirely different purpose than to just contrast. When the word "but" is used in the Bible in conjunction with "God", it is actually a hope giving, big, bold, live changing word. Almost like how adding God to anything totally transforms it, right?
Adding God to our lives (for the purpose of this analogy, though He should be the center) is totally life-changing. When someone comes to Jesus, their life is never the same. He has the power to completely transform and restore us... kind of like our negative friend, the word "but".
Here are some examples in the word of how God transformed the word but into a word that is...
"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
"If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you." Genesis 31:42
"David stayed in the desert strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands." 1 Samuel 23:14
"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today" Genesis 50:20
5. Full of Hope and Peace
"But now the LORD my God has given me peace on every side; I have no enemies and all is well." 1 Kings 5:4
As you can see, God uses that little word "but" for His own glory and for good. Because God is an interrupter. He doesn't need the word "but" just for contrast. When the word "but" is paired with the Holy name of our Father, it is because He has just interrupted our life to change it in a big way.
Look at the story of Noah above. The entire earth was going to be wiped away BUT GOD stepped in and saved His people.
And the story of David, who would certainly be killed by Saul, BUT GOD interrupted Saul's plans. He knew the plans He had for David and would not let Saul have him.
And in the passage in Genesis 50, the story of Joseph. Joseph's brothers acted out of jealousy and malicious intent. He had so much evil afflicted upon him, BUT GOD meant it for good. BUT GOD used what was meant for evil and completely transformed the situation for His glory.
God interrupts these sinful, messy, and broken moments in ordinary human lives and completely changes everything. He protects, He redeems, He restores, He gives peace... I could go on and on.
Each and every one of us was born into this world sinful and broken. With this comes the opportunity for each one of us to have a "but God" moment. That doesn't mean that is the only one we will ever have, but it should be a huge turning point in our lives. One where we realize what we came from but that God has a bigger purpose for us.
The moment that we become a Christian should be one our our biggest, life altering moments because we completely turn our lives around and give them to Christ. My favorite part of hearing peoples' testimonies is seeing how God used the hardships they went through for a purpose. Yes, they went through a lot BUT GOD was able to use those hardships for His good and to do big things.
I also like that the term "but God" can be followed by something but it can also be an ending. There doesn't even have to be something GOOD that follows a "but God". Because He is our God and He is so good. I came from a messed up situation, BUT GOD period. But God can fix it, but God can redeem it, but God has transformed me. There is no additional explanation needed because God can do all things and through God we can do all things.
"I can do all things thorough Him who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13
None of us are perfect BUT GOD covers us with His good grace. This blog post was not as structured and listed as our typical posts are, but that is the beauty of the Christian life we lead. It is messy and imperfect BUT GOD has provided hope, peace, love, and restoration for each of us.
Rhonda Agee —
This is such a wonderful thought provoking and well written article. I have never thought about these words in this way. Thank you for this.
…but God. This is my all time favorite words in the Bible amongst many others. These words give me strength and is a constant reminder that everything is in Gods control. Not mine. As women, we have constant struggles when the enemy whispers in our ears that we are not good enough, that we could’ve done better, or you’re not enough for your husband or kids or whatever. “But God” is to me comfort, and security to remind myself that I can not rely on man, but HIM alone. He will ever fail me, and that HE is the only constant in my life.
Love & Light,