The Inexplicable “But God”

12 Stones

Joshua 3:11-13 “See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord – the Lord of all the earth – set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”

This makes me think of times in my life. When God’s redeeming love seemed inexplicable. When the river of my life has clearly been at flood stage, I look back and see that God stopped the flowing of the water from upstream and piled it up in a heap while cutting off the water flowing downstream. I crossed on dry ground again and again and my memories are like the 12 stones taken from the River Jordan (read Joshua 3 and 4). They are the testimonies of God’s amazing grace in my life.

At best, childhood is perilous. But even more so, the teen years are no exception. Perilous. And despite some really dangerous decisions and lacks of good judgment, God spared me in my teen years. Sometimes I wonder why. And then I remember that my parents were always praying. I never seemed to be able to poke out of the protective bubble that those prayers locked around me. Same with the college years. Same with my parenting years. Same with my professional years. Some profound rescues occurred. Definitely, I passed through on dry land and knew the reality of God’s intervention. “But God” is still something I whisper to myself often. I need to remember…

Joshua 3:3-7 “Giving orders to the people: ‘When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it.’ Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.’ Joshua said to the priests, ‘Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.’ So they took it up and went ahead of them. And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.’ ”

The memories of these providential rescues in my life serve as the 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan River. God’s miraculous interruptions have done nothing but point me to His redemption. I have even seen Him erase damaging memories to reflect His great love. Inexplicable.

Here are some of my favorite “But God” passages:

Acts 13:30 “But God raised Him from the dead, and for many days He was seen by those who had traveled with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now His witnesses to our people.”

Psalm 66:19 “But God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.”

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Although the photo above is only representative of the 12 stones of remembrance in Joshua 3 and 4, the waters around me continue to stand up in a heap. Life’s circumstances remain at flood stage 90% of the time. I only know which way to go when I follow God closely and have an unwavering faith in Him, His mercy, His power, and His salvation. “But God.” He is the reason I cross on dry ground.


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