Embracing the Buts

Just to be clear–that’s one “t”–not two. We’ll not talk about the two “t” kind here.
We all have “buts”…some are more talkative about them than others. The “buts” usually come in the way of qualification about something we advertise as being generally ok…or even something we really like, but…
As in…I love my new house…but if the fence line could be just a few feet further back. Or, the new neighbors are very nice…but their barking dog is driving me crazy. Or, my professor is great…but all that homework. Or, l love my new situation, it lets me do almost everything I am gifted and am called to do, but my leader is a complete dope.
You see the idea.
At its core, I think the “but” issues are a lack of contentment or a lack of gratitude or an expectation that God is somehow required to “fine tune” our circumstances right down to the micro-millimeter so that our existence is maximized for our comfort and convenience.
We’re upset by the Copernican notion–that the universe does not revolve around us.
I suspect we all have our personal “buts”…and in the Body of Christ, the Church, we often get to identify even more “buts.” I love the preaching, but the music is so loud. Or, I love the music, but the teaching is mediocre. Or, I think I like the new ministry approach, but why can’t we just keep doing the things we’ve done?
When we do the “but” thing, we blunt the effect of God’s blessings in our lives–we take the confidence that God is working everything together for our good and turn it on its head…failing to recognize that God working everything together for good often means that we have to traverse some not-so-good. We smother (and sometimes strangle) the possibility that we will see God work in new ways because we cannot let go of the “buts.”
I have been oh so very guilty of this–and still am. Because I focus on the “buts,” I end up missing the majesty of God’s work in my life and the lives of people around me. When I fixate on the less-than-perfect or the not ideal or (worse yet) a failure for everything to conform to my preferences and expectations, I become joy-sapped and dreary.
I daresay that most of our “buts” do not really rise to the level of trials…they are more at the level of annoyance or inconvenience. But I think the words of James are still apropos: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2).
How about it? Can we consider it “pure joy” when we face “buts” of many kinds?
© 2016, All rights reserved. Scriptures from the New International Version (Zondervan).

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2 replies

  1. Someone once said that when we add “but” after a statement it totally negates the statement we made before the “but.” Makes sense to me – but I still do it. 🙂

Luke 21:36 "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."

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