February 25, 2024

Eagle Eye Community

A PURE HEART – HOW CAN WE HAVE IT?

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In this article, I will tackle one of my favorite phrases in the Bible. This phrase is also loved by many saints ever since the time of Noah. And I know, after reading this article, you will also love this phrase. It is the “But God” phrase.

We will tackle what is this “But God” moment in our lives and in the lives of the saints in the Bible. When do these moments occur, and why it is important that we should remember these “But God” experiences in our lives. I will also give my personal “But God” experiences that I hope, will also bless the readers.


EXAMPLES OF “BUT GOD” EXPERIENCES IN THE BIBLE

A “But God” experience is an experience of God stepping in and intervening in our behalf. And if it is not for these interventions, we would not be alive today or things will not end well for us. These are the moments when we say “It was a very difficult situation but by the Grace of God, I have made it through!” or “I am still alive today because God intervenes!”

Here are the Biblical examples of those “But God” experiences of the saints in the Bible:


1. NOAH DURING THE GREAT FLOOD

Gen. 7:17-8:1 “Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days, and the water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it rose above the earth. The water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water…  Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. The water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days. BUT GOD REMEMBERED NOAH and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided.”

This is the first But God moment mentioned in the Bible. It comes during the greatest storm and the greatest trial the earth has ever experienced. Yet, even in this planetary flood, God is still God and He is still able to bring Noah and his family out of the storm. But if you can imagine, it is not easy being in the Ark at that time. Imagine as you can see the waters poured out from above and at the same time, the fountains of the great deep burst open from below (Gen 7:11). The Ark is bombarded by the storm above and chaos of water bursting from below. Not to mention the big waves rocking the Ark.

Despite of this hope-vanishing situation, we read “But God remembered Noah.” And this is all that matters. Everything else go dimmed in the light of this statement. Even if the whole earth is flooded with water, as long us you have a “But God” moment with you, everything else is insignificant. That But God moment will turn everything in your favor.


2. ABRAHAM AND SARAH IN THE PRESENCE OF ABIMELECH

Gen. 20:1-3 “Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev… and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelech king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her. BUT GOD CAME TO ABIMELECH in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”

We can read in the verses above that Abimelech took Sarah because he thought that Sarah was Abraham’s sister as confessed to him also by Abraham. Abraham said this to Abimelech because he was afraid that Abimelech might kill him because of his wife Sarah (Gen. 20:11). But God came to Abimelech through a dream and told him to return Sarah to Abraham as she is his wife.

With this But God moment, many people were saved. The first one to be saved is Sarah from the hand of Abimelech. Her husband Abraham cannot save her and even gave her to Abimelech just to save himself. Without God’s intervention, Sarah would not have been spared. Other people that have been saved in this unlikely situation is Abimelech himself and all that are his (Gen. 20:7). Indeed, even if our husbands or the man of God himself (Abraham) cannot save us, God is still able to rescue us from situations where there seems to be no way out.


3. JOSEPH IN THE LAND OF EGYPT

Acts 7:9-10 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. BUT GOD WAS WITH HIM and rescued him from all his troubles.”

We all know the story of Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob. He was sold by his brothers as a slave to Egyptian merchants and being a slave, he was falsely accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife. This has caused him to be imprisoned. But in all of his troubles, God was with Joseph and rescued him from his troubles and made him the governor of Egypt, the right hand himself of Pharaoh.

God was with him even in his troubles and used all his troubles to save many lives, including those of his brothers who had hated him so much (Genesis 50:20). We can learn a lot from these experiences of Joseph. How God is still with us even to those situations that we think He had left us.


4. DAVID IN THE DESSERT

1 Sam. 23:14 David stayed in the desert strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, BUT GOD DID NOT GIVE DAVID INTO HIS HANDS.

Even if your enemy is the king himself of the country where he has declared that you are a wanted person, and that he has access of the land, as long as God is with you, no king, president, or military officials of the land can ever capture you nor harm you.

This is the case of David who was declared an outcast by king Saul in Israel. David became a vagabond in his own land, and hides himself from place to place just so king Saul cannot find him. There was even a time where David pretended to be a crazy man because he went in the land of his enemy just to avoid Saul. For David to be spared from the enemy, he pretended to be crazy by scribbling in the gate doors and by drooling his saliva all over his beard (1 Sam. 21:10-15).

But in all of these, God is with David and there’s not a time that Saul captures him nor harm him. It was actually the opposite; it was king Saul who was given by God to the hand of David two times (1 Sam. 24:3-4, 26:5-10).


5. ALL BELIEVERS

Rom. 5:6-8 “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. BUT GOD DEMONSTRATES HIS OWN LOVE TOWARD US, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

These But God moments did not only stop among the saints of the Bible. It has continued among us even today. God is still intervening for us. And without these interventions, perhaps we won’t even survive our time. Especially that this generation is sick with pestilence, war and famine. Indeed, without the help of God, we cannot survive.


WHEN DO THESE “BUT GOD” MOMENTS HAPPEN?

We see from the Biblical examples above that these But God moments occur during great times of difficulty, when we cannot do anything with the situation. These are times when the Lord needs to step in. When Abraham, through fear, put his own wife Sarah in harm’s way, God stepped in and protected her (even if Abraham cannot!). When David was at his wits end running and hiding in caves from a mad king with a spear and evil intent, he experienced many ‘but God’ moments saving his life.

So when do these ‘But God’ moments occur? Well, let’s just say you don’t normally experience these But God moments when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping and all is well in your life. These “But God” moments happens during those times that require the Lord to step in. They come in the times when we normally run out of options. Our cleverness has failed us. Our resources are depleted. Our health is dwindling. Our ability to wriggle out of a tight spot has let us down. These are the times that But God moments happened.

With these in mind, we need to remember that:

Believers aren’t promised not to experience the storms, but we are promised that God is always with us even in the storms so that we will be overcomers (John 16:33). 


WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THE “BUT GOD” MOMENTS?

We are now living in a difficult time. As time goes by, I feel less at home in this world than 3 years ago. Perhaps because the world that I knew and I grew up with has changed so much lately and is not for the better. I can feel that God is loosening our grip on this world and turning our attention to His soon coming.

Opposite to this, all preparations also are almost done to set this world from the soon reign of the antichrist who will rule this earth. Along with this, are the spread of new variants of viruses, the continuing war in Ukraine with the Russian threatening to escalate it to World War III, the natural disasters, increasing unemployment and financial pressures… indeed, it hasn’t been a good year! The Bible says that in the last days people’s hearts will fail them for fear of what they see coming upon the earth (Luke 21:26) We are not in those days yet but we do see the birth pains and signs that that day will come.

So what do we need to do?

We need to focus our eyes to the Lord. We need to dwell on the things which bring faith and hope, and these are the reasons why we need to remember the “But God” moments in our life. That our God is still God and that He is still the King of both heaven and earth. He is still in control of everything. Our hope should rest upon this truth.

Rom 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So think about it for a moment. Have you experienced some ‘but God’ moments in your life? When did they occur to you? Does the memory of what God do to you in the past give you strength for today and the future? If He showed His kindness and had been faithful to you, do you think He will not continue to do so?


MY OWN “BUT GOD” EXPERIENCES

As mentioned at the start of this article, I will also share my “But God” moments here. I have two “But God” experiences that is so memorable to me. All of these involve our small family – my wife Sarah and my son Von Elkhahee (Dodoy).


1. MY SON SAVED FROM A GREAT DANGER

Just last November 2020, we have just renovated a house where I and my wife Sarah planned to move in with our 2-year-old son Dodoy before 2021 comes. The renovations were almost complete, with only the bedroom’s door still not attached and a few finishing paints to be applied to the rest room and the living room. Aside from these, the house will be ready. So my wife and I decided that we will do the painting job. I’ll paint the rest room and she’ll paint the living room. We decide to do it on the coming Saturday when I have no work. 

When Saturday came, we bring Dodoy with us into the house so that he can play in the bedroom while we are doing the painting. In the bedroom, is where the detached door being tied to a wall. This door is made of solid wood. My fault is that, I did not check if that detached door is securely tied to the wall. So I put Dodoy in the bedroom with his toys to play with while we are doing the painting.

In the middle of our painting works, we heard a loud BANG like a big slab of wood that falls down to the floor. Then we heard the loud cry of our son. I hurriedly drop the paintbrush and ran toward the bedroom with my wife Sarah also came running after me. And there I saw my son sitting on the floor crying and inches beside him is the solid door already lying on the floor. I hurriedly get my son and check if he was hit by the door that falls. But thank God, after thoroughly checking, he was not injured in any area of his body though he was literally inches away from danger that could have taken his life. The reason he cries is because he was shocked by the loud bang. We are greatly thankful to the Lord for it!

So why is this a but God experience you ask? Because this is that moment where I and my wife are literally not present to protect our son. His sole protector at that time is our Lord. And He is more than enough for him. Anything, but God, literally could have happened. My son would have been dead already without our Lord. I believe that God overrules and has the last say in all the events of His children’s lives. I also knew that if only we get to see all the things that He saved us from and prevented from happening to us, we will be amazed of how great a protector He is! But God indeed!


2. MIRACLE AT THE AIRPORT

This second “But God” experience just happened last January 2022 when we are returning to Manila from our 2-week vacation in the province, in Negros Occidental.

We are in the province when we heard the news that COVID-19 cases in Manila have surged again which is the reason for the Alert Level to be raised again. Then came the day of our scheduled flight back to Manila, we are already inside the airport lining up to check-in when the airport authorities announced that all children below 15 years old and all unvaccinated persons are not allowed to ride the airplane due to a surge in the number of cases in Manila. During this time, there is still no available COVID-19 vaccine for children, only adults are vaccinated and that’s why our son is still unvaccinated.

I can see the great frustrations of every parent at the airport that time. Just like us, most of them are only having their vacation in the province but are working and living in Manila. The worst thing is, when we ask the authorities as to when the children can travel back to Manila, they have no definite answer. All they can say to us is “it depends if the COVID case will lighten, we can allow the children to ride the plane.” And based on experience, it takes 1 to 2 months before the alert level for COVID can be changed.

With that announcement, some of the parents are already calling their relatives to fetch them at the airport so that they can return to their houses in the province. Others are calling their employers that they will be stranded for about a month in the province since they can’t leave without their children. Other husbands are deciding to return alone to Manila that day while their wives and children will then follow when the Alert level is being lifted.  

I and my wife are also faced to make a decision that day. I was thinking to ride the plane to return to Manila for my work and for them to stay in our house in the province until the COVID Alert level is being lifted. But at the same time, I cannot accept the idea that I will leave my family in the province for about a month while I am working in Manila. I ask the authorities if there is still an option for the 3 of us to come back together in Manila that day even if we will ride on different planes. They said that it is not possible since they are only following the command of higher authorities.

Then I remember that this is one of those moments where we have done everything we can but still, the situation will not allow us and we ran out of options. And based on experience, this is the kind of situation where God often proved to me that He is God and that all I need to do is to trust in Him, especially since I have already done what I can do. Thinking about this has lightened my heart and something in me is telling me that everything will be fine and that I will just have to trust in my Lord. So I told my wife that God will make a way and we will going to ride the plane back to Manila that same day. To my amazement, my wife Sarah also felt the same and agree on me with it. You cannot see even a little worry on our faces at that time. We are really sure that we can ride the plane to Manila. As to how that we don’t know.

So while the others are returning back to their houses in the province, we remain in the airport with assurance in our hearts that we will return to Manila that day. I look at my son while he plays with other children in the airport, they don’t actually have a clue what was going on. As time goes, only few of us parents with our children are left at the airport that day. I told my wife that we should pray. So we prayed. We did not pray for us to be allowed to ride that plane at that time, I remember what we prayed was that, for the will of the Lord to be done in us. And indeed after about 30 minutes, the airport authorities had announced that they will now allow children to ride the plane but only for that flight alone. They won’t allow children in other scheduled flights.

After hearing this announcement our hearts leaped for joy that I and my wife let out a loud shout saying “PRAISED THE LORD!” echoing all over the airport. That praise is so contagious that every person in the airport who heard it at that time also shouted: “PRAISE THE LORD!” Everyone was so happy thanking the Lord. All of us who remained in the airport that day have rode the plane back to Manila. Indeed, what a “But God” experience!

I have still many “But God” moments that I have experienced in my life but these two are the most unforgettable.


CONCLUSION

We’ve seen that our God is still in control of everything and this everything includes those seem out-of-control circumstances in our lives. That even though our planet is experiencing some very difficult times right now, our Lord is still here giving us those “But God” moments.

The difficulties and birth pains occurring in this world point to a coming far greater “But God” experience – the birth of a new world ruled by the King of kings Himself. So take heart and be encouraged. Just like what King David says in Psalm 73:26:

“My flesh and my heart may faileth: BUT GOD is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.”

If the rapture doesn’t occur in our lifetime, and our flesh and heart fail, king David knew that it didn’t just stop there. It is followed by a precious ‘But God’. But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever! That is the hope and reality that extends out into eternity that gives us peace for today. He will be there for us even if our hearts fail and our flesh fades.

God bless.

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