If you had to pick one short phrase to describe the message of the entire Bible, what would it be? (No peeking!)
- God is love...
- Plan of redemption...
- God's reaching down to man...
(Pretty good, keep going.)
There are a thousand ways we could sum up the theme of Scripture, but my favorite recurs more than 40 times and is scarcely noticed. Yet, for me, it captures the flavor and richness of God's word more than any other.
The Bible gives us hundreds of examples of people just like us who wanted their own way, chose what felt right to them, and found themselves in trouble. It paints in vivid color the sin that gets us there, our hopeless desperation, and the rightful consequences headed our way.
Like Superman charging to the rescue, the little words "but God" sweep away the obvious and allow for the impossible.
"We were dead in our sins, but God..."
"My heart failed within me, but God..."
"The wicked seem to get away with everything, but God..."
"The Israelites thirsted for water in the desert, but God..."
"My enemies surrounded me, but God..."
The Bible is filled with desperate, hopeless people who had no hope except that God chose to intervene--usually at His own expense. He shows us over and over that without Him, we don't stand a chance at a victorious life either here or hereafter. Without those two little words, the Bible would just be another depressing book designed to make us feel even worse about our meaningless lives.
With those words, our hopelessness is transformed into hope. Despair becomes delight. Shame becomes confidence, and ashes turn to beauty.
What is going on in your life that requires those words? Maybe your situation looks hopeless, your relationships shattered, your future bleak. By yourself, you are helpless to change a thing.
Don't give in to despair. Hang on to the message of the Bible, captured in two priceless words: