The Bible tells it like it is.
In particular, the Psalmists and the prophets unflinchingly record the troubles that afflict all people, even God’s people. Attacks from enemies, betrayals by friends, loss of resources, unexpected disease…all are documented in honest detail.
Why not just record the blessings, the good stuff? Because life holds both blessing and trouble. God knows that while we find it easy to celebrate blessings, we desperately need help in knowing what to do when troubles come.
Amazingly, grammar can point us to the help we need.
In the English language, “but” is a conjunction, a striking word that both connects and contrasts ideas or events. So as we read the Bible, the word “but” often signals a crucial turning point, an opportunity in the midst of devastating trials to choose between despair over circumstances or hope in God.
But as for me…
Psalm 55 records a litany of David’s trials – enemy attacks, fear of death, oppression, fraud, betrayal. David calls out to God, unafraid to describe his troubles. In chaos of his circumstances, he chooses to trust God and reject despair.
But as for me, I will trust in you. Psalm 55:23b
Psalm 71 describes a time of physical weakness which leaves the writer vulnerable to attack. Even when his strength was spent, the psalmist clings to hope and chooses praise, directing his focus to God’s faithfulness instead of his circumstances.
But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. Psalm 71:14
Micah was a prophet who wrote to God’s people of a coming attack, of the ways their sin had separated them from God, and of God’s faithfulness to forgive. He shows us that even though some troubles are of our own making, we can still have hope in our God, the Savior who redeems all things.
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7
Troubles reveal our focus.
When we focus on our circumstances, despair takes root.
When we focus on God and His faithfulness, hope flourishes.
The good news: faith makes it possible to choose our focus.
What troubles are you facing? Shocking diagnosis, family turmoil, betrayal, uncertainty, injustice, unforeseen consequences, loss of income?
Do what David, Micah, and the Psalmists did…
Bring your troubles to God. List them in detail, confident that He hears you.
Then, make the contrast. Shift your focus.
But as for me…
Choose to focus on the faithfulness of God. Take refuge in His steadfast and unfailing love. Praise Him while you watch and wait for Him to act on your behalf.
But as for me…I will always have hope.