God’s Eraser: “But God!”

But God!

By: Murray Lincoln: Misty Hollow Woodcarver

I am a Pastor – now retired after 35 years.

In my 64th year and 2nd month there wasn’t enough money coming in to pay the salaries of our staff.

So they fired me!

I felt like crap!!!

Moving from a highly respected, ordained minister, trusted by everyone to that level of Crap was not easy. BUT GOD had another plan…

Ministry life isn't easy. I had experienced abuse… horrible bosses (senior ministers) that were the most miserable men alive.

One of them threw his typewriter across the desk at me. I had bought the typewriter and repaired it for him. The "dear brother" got so mad one day that he threw the stupid thing across the desk. It missed  me and hit the wall.

BUT GOD… I love this phrase because "BUT" is an eraser word that wipes out everything that was said or done before it.

I saw abuse on the mission field, too. Older missionaries abused the national church leaders, and super-stupid young missionaries like me. Sheesh, was I ever stupid in their eyes…

BUT GOD used me in ways that stopped their angry words and deeds… kind of like a Joseph, who was another abuse example.

BUT GOD had a plan…

When I was out of the church I had no idea what to do next. BUT GOD did…

I went to the Employment Insurance Office to file my first claim. I was about to cry at the counter that day. I asked the guy behind the counter if he knew anywhere I might get some help. He looked at me for a second or so and then said that a place called "Northern Lights" might be somewhere for me to go…

I walked to that employment counseling office and cried all the way.  I had almost 40-years of successful ministerial work. And before that I had enjoyed a successful, high paying career as a computer technician and programmer with benefits.

I was now looking to do something that had nothing to do with my plans of even three months ago.

I came into the Northern Lights office and almost cried again. This was not a spiritual place. Would they understand a broken grandfather and busted up missionary… a man without a future, crying in front of them?

The older lady behind the counter asked, "Can I help you?"

I gulped and said in a shaky voice, "You could give me some Hope."

She sat and looked at me for a bit and then said, "I think you need to speak with Pat."

BUT GOD used Pat that day when to my surprise she asked me if I ever thought of starting my own business. WOW!!!

That was my original plan! I planned to retire at age 65 and start a woodcarving business! But how would that be possible, I wondered.

Pat suggested I apply for a special Government program entitled SEB (Self Employed Benefits), where if you were accepted, you would be trained to write a business plan, launch a business, and make some money. Under SEB your EI money becomes seed money to build your business.

BUT GOD had a plan to make my dream come true, and now it's called "Misty Hollow Carving!" In about half a year I was making more money that I had earned at the church. It's not just about making money and providing for my family. God knew that people needed help and now I'm reaching more people than ever before!

Every Wednesday I have a table set up outside a store in the Mall where I display my woodwork. I meet over 100 people every Wednesday and I've even married four couples that I met at this table!

I started blogging every day, since I left the church. As of today about 146,000 pages have been viewed by over 106,000 readers.

In all my years of preaching I had never had that many people actually listen to what I said, let alone keep coming back!

I became a Chaplain to the Provincial Politicians in our Ontario government. 107 men and women plus a staff that numbers about 350-400. It's a small hidden body of people that I lead prayer for.

I'm also actively involved in the Correction Service Canada and the Federal prison system, where God has opened unbelievable doors that have placed me in national leadership.

That day in July 2008 when I was crying and broken, thinking my life was over… GOD had another plan.

I am 68 now and just beginning all over. Moses was 80. He had a whole lot of "BUT GOD!" too.

Hang on tight when God erases the negative stuff… WOW!!!

~ Murray Lincoln ~


Editor's Note: How about you? Do you have a "BUT GOD!" story to share? Would you like to have one? Sharing your life story inspires other people, and when you take a few moments to compile your stories into a beautiful hard-cover book, your grandchildren for many generations will cherish you forever!


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Solvita July 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm

WOW… such a moving story. Loved it! Thank you Susan for sharing it on your blog ~ awesome! 🙂


Susan McKenzie July 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Thank you, Solvita!


Sharon O'Day July 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm

There are so many stories of upheaval in the lives of so many good people … particularly starting around 2008.  What an uplifting story this one is … yay, a happy ending!  Thank you for sharing it, Sue!


Jessica Stone July 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm

I love this article!  God is capable and able to take our messes and make something brilliant that only He can plan!!  This is a great reminder to keep our hope in Him alone.


Michele July 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm

What a delightful story! It is always inspiring to hear about someone finding their calling. From the sounds of this story, as a wood carver the minister reaches more people than as a preacher. Ironic and a lesson for us all. Living our very best selves is where we can share our own divine light!


Susan McKenzie July 18, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Very true, Michele! I agree. If we each live out of our God-designed lives the world would be so much more of a happy place!


Matthew Reed July 18, 2012 at 11:03 am

Murray thanks for sharing such an encouraging story. I've been leading my own business as a life/leadership coach after 16 years as a pastor. You're story is pure motivation and positivity for me!


Susan McKenzie July 18, 2012 at 12:25 pm

LOL, thanks, Matthew! It’s inspiring me, too, as I’m right in the same position! Thanks for sharing 🙂


Olga Hermans July 18, 2012 at 10:17 am

Such an awesome story of recovery. I also love the words "But God". His plan is the best for us and what He did in this pastor's life: Murray Lincoln, He will do for us. God is not a respector pf persons. This makes my day; thanks Susan!


Susan McKenzie July 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Olga, that’s what I love about sharing our stories… what God does for one He’ll do for another. So we can all take this “But God!” story to heart, in our own lives. Thanks so much for sharing!


denny hagel July 18, 2012 at 9:44 am

A beautiful story that speaks to something that was preached consistently in my home as a child…"when God closes a door he opens a window!" Thanks for sharing this…truly uplifting!


Susan McKenzie July 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Denny, that’s a beautiful phrase to grow up with. I would have loved to have been a mouse in your house as your parents were raising you! Thanks so much for sharing <3


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