Here’s an interesting word. It’s one of those words we use frequently in our vocabulary, especially as Christ-followers. So just to be clear, here’s the Webster’s definition:
BUT – Conjunction – outside, without, except; barring.
The word is used to offset something previously said; something like this: “I froze and was terrified on the back of the scooter, BUT I’m glad I did it.” It’s a fine word, but one that as a Christian, I think I use too much (see how I just used it there?)
I’ve said “but” alot in our family’s cancer experience. I use it as a sort of self-protection, to prevent acknowledging how many questions, how much doubt, and the level of pain I’ve felt. It goes something like this:
“Joshua feels awful, and I’m dead tired. I’ve never been so afraid in my life… BUT God is good.”
Now all of the things in that sentence are completely true. Joshua did – and sometimes does – feel awful. God is also good. I, however, put the “but” in there to make sure that anyone who encounters me still thinks of me as a spiritual person. It’s like I refuse to allow myself to acknowledge that there are real struggles in life with no easy answers.
I think a better word to use in those circumstances is “and.”
Joshua is sick, AND God is good. When I say “and,” I’m acknowledging the validity of both things, instead of trying to explain away my struggle. I think it’s okay with God that we sit for a while in the struggle, acknowledging with Him how difficult it is. When we do that, we are implicitly saying that both our pain and our trust are real. And they exist together.
Trust and pain seem not to be mutually exclusive. Neither do faith and doubt. Neither does healing and process. The key here is in not denying the truth of either one. When we come to God with the truth – the unashamed, ugly, messy truth – we are really trusting Him. We are trusting Him that He’s bigger than all of those things.
So today, I want to say “Cancer is bad. AND God is good.”