“The Holy But”¹. Stone writes that the Holy But originated in the Garden of Gasthemene,
“Going a little farther, he (Jesus) fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, ΒUT as You will.’ ” (Matthew 26:39)
Jesus was suffering and grieving about what He was about to do. His circumstances led Him to the cross to die a painful, bloody, lonely death. In spite of the horrible agony He suffered, Jesus lived behind the Holy But. “Yet not my will BUT Yours be done.” Jesus put His life in the hands of His Heavenly Father. He focused on His Father, not His circumstances. Jesus chose God’s will over His own.
Stone says we all live behind our buts.
- “I like our pastor, but he’s too long-winded.”
- “I’d volunteer in the nursery, but Sunday’s my only day off.”
- “Our atheist neighbors are facing a crisis, but I’m afraid to talk to him about Jesus.”
- “We’d like to tithe, but we barely make enough to pay the bills.”
Do we know some Christians with big buts like these?
- “I know Jesus loves me, but you don’t know what I’ve done.”
- “The Bible says Jesus freed me from sin, but I still sin.”
- “I believe in Jesus, but church people are hypocrites.”
- “I know I need to forgive my dad for abandoning us, but I just can’t.”
- “I know I need to pray more, but I just don’t have the time.”
- “The Bible tells me God accepts me completely, but I don’t feel accepted.”
- “God’s grace may work for some people, but not for me.”
The Apostle Paul lived after his but as well. In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 Paul says,
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 48-9
Paul faced dreadful, seemingly hopeless circumstances, but he chose to live behind his buts and above beyone his circumstances.
Later in that chapter, Paul writes,
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Vs 16-18
“Paul put the trouble in front of his buts and put God, or God’s perspective, after the but. He was still afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down. But, his perspective and his focus was on God and what God could do.
God’s word teaches us we are totally loved, totally accepted, children of the eternal God? Let’s start putting our circumstances before our “buts” and our faith (and God’s truth about us) behind them.
If we know who we are in Christ, isn’t it time we get off our big but?
1The Rest of the Gospel, Dan Stone, One Press, Dallas, Texas