My son and I have earned an overdue break from our home school, so I decided an extended trip to my parents home was in order. I arrived and my mother was sick. I pulled or strained a muscle in my back and then my son caught a nasty cold. Through it all, we’ve enjoyed our time together because no matter what, I enjoy visiting with my parents. There’s nothing like the love in their home for me and my children and even my temperamental dog. In addition to the love that I receive on my visits to my parent’s home, I always have an encounter of some kind with God. It could be a moment of deep reflection or a learning from a conversation about the Bible. (My dad and I always have those chats.) It could be anything, but it’s always something that moves me in my spirit and takes me one more notch up the ladder of my faith. Tonight was my last night in their home. While my dad and I had an interesting conversation about Lot’s wife, it wasn’t moving or eye-opening. I briefly wondered if the reason I hadn’t met God was because I had not pressed to take some focused private time with Him. Knowing that I don’t earn what God has for me, I dismissed that thought. You know what’s coming next right? My testimony about my encounter with God.
I put my son to bed. I was exiting the room, reaching towards the light switch to turn it off and the Holy Spirit spoke to me just as clearly as if He was standing next to me. He said, “Check that window.” Okay. This house is like Fort Knox, but I checked the window as I had been told. To my horror, I found that it was unlocked. First floor, back of the house…you get the picture. Mind you, I’ve been in this house for more than seven days, kissing my son goodnight, and closing the door to this room. But tonight was different. The Lord needed us to know …that window is not locked. You can imagine how overcome I was with emotion. I looked at my child, the one I’d just prayed to God to protect all the days of his life and nearly cried. Had the enemy meant evil for him? Had evil been looking to enter through an open window? Or perhaps once we left, my parents would be exposed, not knowing that the window that appeared to be locked, was in fact not. The Lord said, “I’ve got your son. I’ve got your parents, but I need you to lock that window.”
There are many lessons in that story, but I’m going to focus on the one that Holy Spirit has for me to share with you. As I study grammar with my son and continue in my in-depth study through the Bible, I have come to understand that conjunctions are powerful words. But is one of them. But, the dictionary defines it as a word used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been mentioned. Contrasting is something opposite or strikingly different. But is the word that changes, upsets, undoes, and undermines what you know to be. It’s also the first word in one of my favorite scriptures.
Thessalonians 3:3 says “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” This scripture is one I’ve been using a lot this year. It’s the scripture I turn to and repeat over and over again when I need to remind myself that God is faithful. He is my protector. It begins with but. It begins with a contrast that says, “Hold up, wait a minute, but is in the scenario.” That means there’s something here that’s different, something I need to pay attention to, something is not what it seems.
No matter what I see around me, I remember the word says… BUT, the Lord is faithful. I want you to encourage you to do the same. Yes, times are hard, but the Lord is faithful. You may be sick, but the Lord is faithful. Your marriage may look like it’s coming to an end, but the Lord is faithful. Your kids are acting like someone else raised them, but the Lord is faithful. Your mortgage is past due, but the Lord is faithful. Another black man was murdered at the hands of law enforcement, but the Lord is faithful. We are in the midst of the most contentious presidential election of our lifetime, but the Lord is faithful. I want you to put a “BUT the Lord is faithful” on the back of every problem you have because His word never, ever returns void (Isaiah 55:11). You can’t earn His goodness or His grace, so you might as well enjoy the fact that it’s free. Praise Him and thank Him for the buts.