[The LORD says,] I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”
22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him. – Genesis 6:17-21
You’ve no doubt done it, so have I. We’ve added a little word to a sentence and the thought we started turned suddenly a different direction. I understand what you’re saying, but… I think you have a good idea, but… This word, “but” is a powerful resource for harm or healing in our personal communications.
We hear God on this occasion turn the impending doom into a pathway of hope for Noah. “Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you…” Suddenly the impending doom is a frame of a story of salvation, and faithfulness of God.
We may think of this as the story of Noah, and so it is, but this is really part of the story of God. Noah is acting here, but he is acting in response to God’s working. Noah is a righteous man, but the rest of mankind on earth is evil and corrupt. Violence and rebellion are everywhere, but God is not unaware. A disaster looms, but God will save Noah.
I can think of times in my life that would send me on a path of destruction, doom, and disaster, but God’s grace brought me back. I can think of times where I should have resisted temptation, but I did not. I can think of times when all looked lost, but God sent someone to help. I can think of experiences that were bad, but God redeemed them and brought good from the bad.
Is there a but in your life that you need to celebrate? Is there a however that you need to consider in your path tomorrow? Is there a notwithstanding that gives you hope? Is there a nonetheless that you need to consider as you look to the future?
God has a host of situations to which he brings a but, however, nonetheless, notwithstanding, or even so that offers us hope, re-charts our life’s path. And his intent is to bless, save, sustain, and guide us to himself. In Noah’s day the situation was dire, but so was his faithfulness. And it still is. He has made a covenant with us through his Son. And that covenant will not be set aside by any word.
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