Two Little Words
Dr. Doug Posey
Many of us have favorite verses from the Bible, favorite books, favorite chapters, perhaps a favorite testament of the two. But, it’s possible to break down the sea of ink within the pages of the Holy Scriptures to choice increments quite a bit smaller that any of those more sizable divisions. In fact, there are a couple of words that stand out to me, words that speak volumes, without which my faith and understanding of the power of the Almighty might lack a certain richness. They are the two, little, three-letter words: “But God.”
They appear several times together throughout the Bible and point up God’s transformative power. They provide the necessary bridge, a path of rescue between something hopeless, devoid of joy, light and life that ushers the reader, or the subject of the passage, into assurance, gladness and radiant living. “But God,” forms the hinge that swings the door the other way when things seem impossibly closed.
Knowing that God is there and He cares is something that makes a real difference in the lives of those who believe. One might call it the “But God” difference. Yes, the circumstances are daunting, but God is greater than the circumstances. I am stretched thin this month, but God knows my needs and He is a God who provides. People may have forsaken me, but God never will.
An online article that appeared on the WashingtonTimes.com website, reported the following:
A study by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that "belief in a concerned God can improve response to medical treatment" in patients diagnosed with clinical depression. The operative word here is "caring," the researchers said. "The study found that those with strong beliefs in a personal and concerned God were more likely to experience improvement."
The researchers compared the levels of melancholy or hopelessness in 136 adults diagnosed with major depression or bipolar depression with their sense of "religious well-being." They found participants who scored in the top third of a scale charting a sense of religious well-being were 75 percent more likely to get better with medical treatment for clinical depression. "In our study, the positive response to medication had little to do with the feelings of hope that typically accompanies spiritual belief," said study director Patricia Murphy. "It was tied specifically to the belief that a Supreme Being cared."
(Van Morris, Mount Washington, Kentucky; source: Jennifer Harper, "Studies: Belief in God Relieves Depression," WashingtonTimes.com 02-25-2010)
It should come as no surprise to Christians that it doesn’t do much good to believe in a God who doesn’t care. It is that caring that makes those two words we’ve been talking about so powerful.
For example, in Ephesians chapter two, the “But God” factor is demonstrated about as clearly as in any other example in Scripture. Paul describes our condition prior to Christ as being, “dead…indulging in the desires of the flesh…children of wrath,” (2:1-3) among other things. Definitely a bad state of affairs. Then, hope bursts forth in the form of those two words and everything changes.
Is there any doubt that we have a caring God when Paul writes, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…”
That caring is abundantly demonstrated as God uses His power to make…
“…us alive together with Christ and [raise] us up with Him, and [seat] us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:5-7)
What a difference two words make! You could also sum it up in these two words: The Gospel. We would still be dead, indulging in the flesh and facing God’s wrath—BUT GOD!
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” - Romans 5:8