If you like a good cliff hanger, read the Bible. There you will find numerous stories of people in “cliff hanger” situations of lost hope or of someone or some group finding themselves / their situation or nation under siege. Every story drives you right to the brink with breathless uncertainty – will they make it? Then, the cosmos shifts and the tidal wave of disaster is mystically held in abeyance by two deceptively simple words of intervention – But God.
But God is used biblically to show extreme contrast in good vs. evil situations. Those words, I notice as I read through scripture, seem to be invoked for situations deemed most dire. But God is the rally cry of those who are exhausted by the battle, yet it is the battle cry of emergent and confident hope. Much like those scenes from old black and white cowboy movies when it looks like the guys in the black hats just might have the upper hand, we wonder – How could the bad guys get this far in their plans? Then, as the noose is sliding over some good guy’s head, the steady, ominous beat of the background music thunders to a triumphant crescendo. The Cavalry appears on the top of the hill; all five gajillion of them it seems. They aren’t there to dance, folks. They are fully intent on taking out the foe and saving the day. Inching forward on our seats and gripped with anticipation we watch the scene unfold, intuitively knowing a But God moment is about to come down hard on the bad guys.
- “The grass withereth and the flower fadeth away BUT the Word of GOD shall stand forever.” Is 40:8
- “. . . BUT GOD has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.” I Cor 1:27
- “They took him down from the tree and laid him in the sepulcher. BUT GOD raised Him from the dead.” Acts 13:30
- “For indeed, Epaphroditus , was sick unto death; BUT GOD had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also. Phil 2:27
As I sat in the radiology waiting room for four hours this past Monday, not knowing if the test results would set in motion a surgical procedure on Anthony, I felt helpless. How would I make sure Anthony had everything he needed over the long haul to fight this illness? How was I going to help finance this medical crisis? How? Why? What?
Then, we got our very own But God moment. Trudy and a few friends had been texting their support. Anthony’s beloved Samantha was moving between the room that held Anthony and then back to the chair next to me, worried for both of us. Hearing a rustling sound in the hall, we looked up to see Anthony coming toward us, his frail frame draped in two hospital gowns, droopy socks keeping his feet warm. “They said there’s nothing to drain and to go home. The doctor will call me.” We were stunned. “What does that mean – nothing to drain? There was something there when they did the MRI. There was something there yesterday. There’s nothing there today? How? Why? What?”
Anthony still has Crohn’s, but whatever was seen in the first round of MRIs is now unseen under the under the more precise CT lens of modern medical equipment. The systemic infection he has been battling for the last couple of months miraculously has not caused damage to his internal organs. His blood work is within normal range for a Crohn’s patient. Crisis diverted.
But God . . .