Consider the story of Naaman. 2 Kings 5:1 describes him with glowing accolades.
Commander of the army of the king of Syria . . . A great man with his master.
High favor . . . . A mighty man of valor.
Then out of nowhere – life-altering words.
But . . . he was a leper.
Think about that. Leprosy. The most dreaded disease of his day. A visible outward malady that in reality defined who he was. Putrefying infected sores that in time caused loss of fingers, toes, nose. Everyone who came in contact with him saw the miserable condition he carried with him everywhere he went. There was no hiding it.
Many Christ followers understand this reality in their own journey. No doubt, many of you are living there right now.
You love God, and you really do believe that God loves you. You read the Word, pray, give your tithes and offerings, attend worship services, desiring to obey and walk in His Spirit.
But . . .
The doctor gave you terminal news.
But . . .
Your spouse left, and the hole in your heart grows deeper and wider by the hour.
But . . .
Your position at work was eliminated, as was your pay check, and you find yourself in the unemployment line.
But . . .
A son or a daughter rejected a lifetime of nurture and admonition and the relationship is strained, broken and seemingly destroyed.
"Buts" that now seem to define who you are. "Buts" that perhaps even cause you to question God and His plan, much less His goodness. "Buts" that understandably cause you to ask "Where are you God?"
Let's look again at the well-known Bible story of Naaman. At the recommendation of a young slave girl, he travels to find the prophet Elisha. Elisha sends a servant out to instruct Naaman to go and wash seven times in the Jordan. Albeit reluctantly, and even with quite a bit of raging about how irrational the command is, he obeys.
I wonder how Naaman felt after he dunked himself the first time. No change. The second time. No change. Third time. No change. After number six, he might have been thinking that this was a horrible joke and a waste of time. The anger he had initially felt was returning. Someone was going to pay for this public act of embarrassment.
Have you been there? Faith . . . trust . . . obedience . . . and seemingly no change. You find yourself confused, distraught, and perhaps even a bit angry at God.
Then Naaman dipped the seventh time and "his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean." 2 Kings 5:14 ESV
He went back to the "man of God", stood before him and declared, (now) "I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel . . . ". 2 Kings 5:15 ESV
God was in the midst of his pain. Faithfully at work in the "but" of Naaman's life. Steadfast in His plan in Naaman's journey, which ultimately brought Him glory.
And God is in the midst of your pain also. He hasn't forgotten you. He hasn't forsaken you. He is faithfully working in the plan of your life, and He will ultimately get glory by taking your story and making it His story.
Don't be defined by the "but" in your pilgrimage. Don't give up. Keep believing that He is God, and that He is good.
Remember that the only "But" that counts is . . . But GOD!
Yes, I have failed many times before . . . But GOD . . . (has always lifted me back up).
Yes, my finances are low . . . but GOD (will restore my wealth).
Yes, I experienced another failed relationship . . . But GOD will heal me and send me my true love.
Yes, people have falsly accused me and betrayed me . . . But GOD's word says that no weapon formed against me shall prosper.
Your miracle could be just one more "dip in the Jordan" away . . . A miracle that will turn your life around.