I Like Big Buts
It was eighth grade.
Do you remember eighth grade, my friend? I sure do.
The year was 1992.
I was boy crazy.
I was counting the days until my braces came off.
I was just beginning the slow fade toward moral questionability.
I was overly self-conscious and even more insecure.
I was popular and desperately wanted to stay that way.
And I liked big butts.
But I did like the song.
Some silly grown man named himself Sir Mix-a-Lot and came out with an up-beat song my friends and I all loved, entitled “I Like Big Butts.” I am embarrassed to admit that even now, as a thirty-slnvnish year old woman, I can sing every word of that entire song. Thankfully, at the age of thirteen, I had no idea what ‘anaconda’ he was talking about, or what ‘hitting and quitting’ meant at all. I was so naïve then. I just loved the song.
I don’t recommend that you allow your children to listen to this song, FYI. In fact, as an adult, this is the song I remind myself of when I start to think; The songs kids listen to nowadays have gotten completely out of hand.
I agree they have. But, then I remember this song and I’m reminded that songs have been out of control since at least 1992. I’m guessing those of you who happen to be older than me would attest to it being true for longer than that.
So, anyway…back to eighth grade.
It was my friend Meredith’s birthday party and she had a sleepover. Totally rad.
A bunch of us stayed at her house and acted exactly as you’d expect a group of thirteen year old girls to act.
Silly. Dramatic. Loud. Giggly. Boy-crazy. And when bored – completely ridiculous.
At one point during our loud singing and dancing to our various mixed tapes, some wise soul suggested we grab Meredith’s parents’ camcorder and make our very own music video.
We all knew we’d be back up dancers on MTV someday anyway, so why not start perfecting our ‘running man’ move now? The next song that came on the mixed tape was none other than “I Like Big Butts.”
Have you ever had a time in your adulthood where you look back at the stupidity of your youth and think, Oh dear Lord, I hope that doesn’t end up on Youtube someday!
This was my moment.
After hours of practicing and choreographing, it was time for wardrobe.
This was crucial.
There is no hidden meaning in this song. The guy liked big butts – period. Mainly, the song was about black girls having desirably large rear-ends and white girls not being able to compare. And while I distain when judgments of a person are distributed upon an entire group, Sir Mix-a-lot was correct when describing my friends and I.
We were five white girls, each with ‘an L.A. face but no Oakland booty.’
So what should we do, then?
Like, duh. Pillows.
We proceeded to pick out ridiculous clothing, mostly neon colored (obviously) and after appropriate amounts of Aqua Net and purple eyeliner, we stuffed Meredith’s parents’ couch pillows into the back of our pants. We needed junk in our trunk if this music video was ever going to get to the desk of Downtown Julie Brown.
The next hour was not my finest hour.
We danced. We gyrated. We had the ‘whip’ sounds perfected.
We were, in fact, the very coolest people we’d ever seen. Sike.
Our music video was a success.
We, however, were complete and utter fools.
Meredith went to a different high school than I did and we eventually lost touch. But, every single time I hear that song I’m reminded that I would literally pay her money to burn that video of me shaking my pillow-stuffed butt ‘like red beans and rice didn’t miss ya’.
So, this morning, during my quiet time, I was reminded of two separate times in the Bible where God showed His greatness with a few big BUTS.
I read them, saw how God transformed something, and said to myself, Wow! Those are some big BUTS.
Honestly, I didn’t mean for it to come out that way in my brain. But as soon as it did, I giggled like a thirteen-year-old and I was immediately flashed back to eighth grade. So, of course I had to confess it to you. Anyone else find it remarkable that God can speak to me through this stuff? I’m so like totally lame!
Anyway – that thought of God’s BIG BUTS sent me on an amazing search in His Word. And now I’m even more excited to share with you how our powerful God uses BIG BUTS to transform lives.
Take Joseph for example. Poor guy. He was the baby of the family with eleven big brothers who hated him. They got tired of his special dreams from God and they took the kid out to the middle of nowhere and sold him into slavery. Talk about some sibling rivalry. Sheesh.
Can you even imagine? Being a foreigner in a land, with no family or friends, feeling completely lost and alone. BUT, God was with Joseph. God protected him, blessed him, and raised him up as a leader of the entire land — as only God can do. I love it when God shows off like that, don’t you!?
Years later, Joseph was faced with his brothers, the very family who’d chosen to try and ruin and/or end his life. And what does Joseph say?
“You intended to harm me, BUT God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
Now, that’s a big BUT.
Then there’s Joshua. Talk about a brave dude. He and Caleb were one in a million. Literally. Of the estimated two million Israelites God saved from Pharaoh, Joshua and Caleb were the only two who stepped foot on the Promised Land. That’s right, Moses did not. Just these two guys and the next generation that grew up in the desert.
And when they got there, they continued to stand up for God. At this point, despite God’s faithfulness, so many of the Israelites had turned to worshipping idols. They’d adapted to the land and adopted the ways of the people there. So, Joshua assembled all of them together. He purposely recounted all the miracles of God and His faithfulness to His people.
They had a choice. Just like we have a choice. Joseph called these people to the carpet.
“BUT if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
That final phrase hangs on the walls of Christian homes everywhere, including mine. But do we live it? Joshua feels like I feel – pick a stinkin’ team, people. If you’re not going to serve the Lord, then make your choice. BUT don’t fake it – don’t be wishy washy – pick a side now. BUT you can’t serve both.
That’s an eternity-changing BUT.
Then there’s Gideon. Oh friend, this is a good one – I could write a whole book about Gideon! He was raised up from the weakest clan and he himself admitted to be the weakest of that weak clan. He was asked by God to face an army too big to be numbered. In fact, the army he faced “settled in the valley thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore” (Judges 7:12)
No big deal, eh? After all, Gideon had at least 32,000 men available to him, right? Well, yes, at first. Then God spoke up.
“BUT the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” (Judges 7:4)
God didn’t want anyone to try and take credit for His mighty work. So, God whittled down Gideon’s army until the odds were completely NOT in their favor. Do you know how many guys Gideon finally ended up with?
That’s right, three hundred guys armed only with torches and trumpets.
That’s a big BUT.
Then there’s one of my favorites – Hannaniah, Mishael and Azariah. Have you heard of them? These poor teens were plucked away from their homes and all they knew to serve in the king’s court. They were thrown into a world full of customs, traditions and religions they didn’t know or agree with. They even lost their identities when their names were changed to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Maybe now their names ring a bell?
Along with their best buddy, Daniel, these kids were asked to bow down and worship a golden idol. Although they knew the penalty for disobedience was death – they refused to obey. They looked right at the king at told him what’s what.
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. BUT even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18
That, my friend, is life or death. BUTS don’t get bigger than that.
Oh wait, maybe they do…
Jesus came. Jesus healed. Jesus died.
And every one of his followers were devastated. You can’t blame them. We now have the gift of hindsight through Scripture to assure us of the end of the story. But, these people looked directly into the eyes of Jesus. They saw His smile. They literally heard what His voice sounded like. They witnessed the blind see. They saw the dead raised. And then they saw their Savior killed.
Grief is overwhelming. We all face it differently. Some of us weep. Some of us question. Some of us get angry or bitter or depressed. Some of us do all of the above.
Mary Magdalene gained much through Jesus’ saving grace. So, as you can imagine, she lost much at His death. In her grief and mourning, she and her friends went to the tomb of her Savior. At the tomb, they found the biggest BUT mankind would ever know.
“They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, BUT when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” Luke 24:2-3
Amen and amen to that! That big BUT flat out saves my life, friend. And yours too, if you allow it.
Satan thought he’d won, BUT God showed him otherwise.
Death had a sting, BUT it only lasted three days.
Jesus died. BUT my friend, He didn’t stay dead.
That tomb was full, BUT it didn’t stay that way.
And that’s not even where the story ends.
Jesus ascended into heaven, BUT that’s not the last we’ll see of Him.
Acts 1:11 (BUT) They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come again in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
That truth of His return gives us hope when things seem hopeless.
When we don’t feel strong enough to forgive, like Joseph did. BUT, God gives us strength.
When others stand against us for what we know is right, like they did to Joshua. BUT God gives us courage.
When we face hot situations that seem impossible to survive, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. BUT God gives us faith.
When we face battles we feel completely incapable of fighting, like Gideon. BUT God gives us victory.
When loss is great, and hope seems like a distant memory, as it did for Mary Magdalene. BUT God gives us His peace.
When life on this earth seems too evil and the enemy seems to win. BUT God gives us a promise.
Our God is the God of BIG BUTS. He alone has the power. He alone deserves the glory. He alone is God.
May His Truth soak so deeply into your soul, there is nothing left for you to do BUT give Him praise!
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Phil 3:12 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”
Phil 3:20 “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,”
1 John 1:7 ” But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”