But God #1
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; English Standard Version (emphasis mine)
I could literally tell you a thousand stories of things I regret. Some are stupid things I have done (yes, I said STUPID, because that's what they were!). I wrecked a motorcycle doing over 100 mph once and WALKED AWAY with hardly a scratch. I could tell you all kinds of stories of the way I mistreated people. I could tell you how I once got a ticket for driving under the influence. I could tell you that I went bankrupt once. I could tell you of countless bad decisions that got me in more trouble than I'd care to recall.
I could make a list of the things others have done TO me as well. But I don't even want to look back at what others have done to me when I can share plenty of idiocy that is my very own. Plus, what's the use of dredging up that mess anyway?
I am sure some of this blatant honesty surprises some of you. Trust me, if there was no point to it all that I felt may help someone I definitely would NOT want to share any of it.
Here's the deal...I have caused myself a lot of grief over the years, BUT GOD has taken many of the very things that were bad in my life and brought glory to Himself through them. That's the point of this "BUT GOD" devotion.
Take Joseph for example: his brothers sold him into slavery and he basically became the man in charge of Egypt. Joseph's brothers meant to do harm to Joseph, BUT GOD had plans for Joseph that went well beyond the pettiness of people.
Of course, it took years for Joseph to gain perspective in all that happened to him. I am sure that when he was marching to Cairo (or wherever) to be sold as a slave Joseph was hard-pressed to see the hand of God at work. I am sure that when Joseph was thrown in prison for doing nothing with Potiphar's wife it was hard to see that God had good things in mind for him. I am sure that as Joseph languished in jail for years, despite a friend's promise to help him, he was curious as to whether God had forgotten him too.
We get to a point in Joseph's life, as indicated in the above verse, that he realizes that no matter what kind of junk he'd gone through he had the "BUT GOD" factor working in his life.
We've all got the "BUT GOD" factor working in our lives. Sometimes it takes years to realize it. The fortunate few are those who are tuned into the "BUT GOD" factor and realize in the MIDST of horrible things that God is at work, even when we cannot see it.
There was a time when I couldn't see it at all. I look back on those times and see that I was on a path of total destruction, BUT GOD had a plan for me! Not only that, BUT GOD has so healed me and founded my identity in Him that I can even see where my bad experiences can be used to minister to others. For example, have you ever been bankrupt? Bless the Lord, I hope not! But, I am sorry to say, I have! I can sit in front of someone and say, "Hey, I am living proof that you can make it through this! You can't see the other side of this thing, BUT GOD can and does!" Do you get what I mean?
God cares about us. Our sin and the sin of others often has very adverse affects upon our lives. A life can swing on a dime in a moment's notice and the entire process can be recorded in two simple words...BUT GOD. He is the ultimate factor in bringing good from bad. He is the ultimate factor in making even the most mundane things of life, whether these things are good or bad, have eternal significance.
There has been much to regret in my life, BUT GOD stepped in and changed me forever. I look back at my life and say, "But for the grace of God things could be a lot different." I look at my life now and logically see my shortcomings and problems and simply face them without fear, because I can confidently say, "Here's what is in front of me, BUT GOD..." I look ahead at the dismal future of mankind and say, "I am not worried. I know mankind is headed for certain doom, BUT GOD..."
Are you cognizant of the "BUT GOD" factor in your life?