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At a concert a couple years ago I bought a tee-shirt that read: “…but God”. I was drawn to it because I’ve always been fascinated with the power associated with that two-word combo in the Bible. It’s such a compelling combination that you’ll often hear folks use it as a complete sentence in gratitude to what could have been life-altering situations had they taken place.
For today’s Shabbat Shalom post I’ll delve a little into punctuation rules, only enough to distinguish between the power of a comma in juxtaposing “…but-God” pause moments from what would otherwise be a period or closure moments.
In the English language, the punctuation rules dictate that a comma is used before but, but only when two halves of the sentence can stand alone. In this case, but is the coordinating conjunction and requires the comma to separate the two clauses. In other words, as a cordinating conjunction, but links two contrastive sentences.
No, this is not a post about English punctuation rules. It’s rather one about contrasting God’s graciousness and compassion in intervening against the challenges of our lives; and, looking at it from the practical use of a punctuation—the “comma”, with the power of using the conjunction—“but”.
All throughout the Bible, in just about every instance when all seems lost and then we read: “…, but God”, we can be assured that what’s coming up next are God’s interventions that will dramatically turn things around.
In searching the Bible (the KJV), I found forty-four of such “…comma-but-God” verses, and they all pretty much follow this construct:
Making this personal
Before going any further, I must share that the revelation I received in preparing for this post was first made very personal to me in order for me share it with you.
Are there areas in your life where you’re faced with “trouble … trouble … more trouble” and you think this is the end? You say:
“I won’t find a job.”
“I’ll never get married.”
“This will be the death of me.”
“Just one more fix to end it all.”
“My heart won’t recover from this one.”
And so you’ve placed a PERIOD—you’ve stopped, given up—at a point in your life where God only placed a COMMA—a pause—in order to set you up for the contrastive clause. The BUT GOD pause in which He wishes to juxtapose His contrasting graciousness and compassion against the troubles of your life in order for you to gain “victory … victory … more victory.(period)”
If you’ve had these “trouble … trouble … more trouble” moments, then I’d like to share some encouraging “… comma-but-God” assurances from God’s word that encourage me in those contrastive-areas of my own life:
Today’s post is one of encouragement.
In case you’ve put a “period”—a closure—in an area of your life where God intended to only put a “comma”—a pause—I encourage you to see the “…comma-but-God” power to separate the two parts of the contrasting options before you—victory from trouble.
Your Heavenly Father says:
God is a Deliverer from trouble. Life sometimes leads down painful paths. God sees beyond what ails you, what causes you distress and pain to a victorious way out. He has a plan for you to “prosper”.
In this use of “prosper”, it’s a translation from the Hebrew word “shalom” (שָׁלוֹם) meaning: peace, soundness, welfare, tranquility, prosperity, completeness.
Interestingly, shalom is also used to communicate both “hello” and “goodbye”. It’s as if our DaddyGod in assuring us that He has a plan for our lives was bidding us to say goodbye to harm, but hello to hope!
Shabbat Shalom. Today I hope “shalom” took on a deeper, more personal, meaning for you. May you find peace at the “…comma-but-God” moments of your life, and the assurance that your destiny does not end with harm or trouble, but with prosperity and with victory.
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