Except - do we ever stop to really consider what that words means in terms of how we live our life, what happens to us 'in' our life, or what will come out of our life in the end? In some cases, we use 'except' to mean barring any unforeseen circumstances something else will happen in our lives. We also use it to say we are rejecting something from our lives or choices, such as when we say we will eat everything our plate except the broccoli. Short of this happening, we will expect to have this happen - except is a big word with a lot of potential consequences in our lives!
Even on steep mountains he keeps me from falling. He trains me for war so that my arms can bend the most powerful bow. (Psalm 18:30-34)
There is no God except the Lord - no Rock except our God. No one gives us strength except our God. No strength as good, strong, or trustworthy as his strength. Stop for just a moment to consider all the 'exceptions' in your life as a result of following (putting your trust in) God alone:
- The path would be marked with all kinds of landmines just waiting to be detonated in our lives EXCEPT that God has gone before to clear that path for us. Short of God clearing the path, we'd be consumed or damaged by the path! We may not even realize all the 'pathway' protection God has provided in our lives - often totally oblivious to the landmines that lie just beneath the surface. It was his guidance of our steps that made it possible for us to traverse those 'spaces' - those challenging spots we got ourselves into in life.
- The heights we have had to climb to get above the various 'enemies' we have faced in life would have done us in EXCEPT God going ahead, making small crags along the way where our feet could take hold. Those small crags became footholds that allowed us 'solid' footing along the way - bringing distance between us and the very things that pursued us to overtake us. We don't resist temptation alone and the 'climb' away from the things that would seek to pull us in seem like they are a mountain we must climb. We don't climb alone - we don't climb unprepared. The very next step we take upward has been perfectly prepared by him.
- The enemy of our soul would do us in EXCEPT for the strength and power that God pours into our lives over and over again. We dwindle in strength. We succumb to weariness in the fight - unless God builds us up. His strength renews us - building us up for the battle. We don't know the strength we will need until we are in the battle, but God has prepared exactly what we need. We'd bow at the foot of our enemy were it not for the strength of God in our lives!
These are but a few of the 'exceptions' we could consider. I know you may have your own list, but I wanted us to just take a moment to acknowledge even a few of the 'exceptions'. What are yours? How does your list stack up? If you haven't considered the 'exceptions' of God in your life, maybe it is time to just spend a few moments actually doing this and then bend your knee in humble gratitude for each of those exceptions! Just sayin!