Being human is difficult, but sometimes a pause to reflect can make a big difference. Ephesians 2:4 says: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us…” Pastor James Montgomery Boice jumps on those first two words as a key turning point: “But God! Here is where the beauty and wonder of the Christian gospel comes in.”
Ephesians 2 begins with people following “the course of this world,” chasing whatever “passions” and “desires” came to mind. Before “but God”, we were all “dead” (v 1) and “by nature children of wrath” (v 3). All of our efforts are doomed to failure.
The story does not stop there. For God’s people it never does. After “but God”, we have been made alive together with Christ (v 5), we are shown the immeasurable riches of His grace (v 7), and we are enabled to do the good, meaningful works He has prepared for us (v 10).
When we wonder whether this world is all there is and that this is the best we can do, we respond “But God…” When frustrated with yourself, with others, or with the world in general, bring to mind the words “but God.” These words are relevant to every situation because He has not left things as they are, but He intervened through Jesus on the cross and through His Spirit in our lives every day. “The words ‘but God’ show what God has done. If you understand those two words – ‘but God’ – they will save your soul. If you recall them daily and live by them, they will transform your life completely.”
Call the words “but God…” to mind whenever you’re overcome with negativity. Say “but God…” to others who are struggling. For every situation, He can fill the “…” with hope if you pause and give Him the opportunity. But also, when you see God’s blessings in your daily life, think “but God” because He has not left us alone.
 From “November 7.” James Montgomery Boice and Marion Clark. Come to the Waters: Daily Bible Devotions for Spiritual Refreshment. (2017).