Many years ago, a friend of mine was sharing his experience with a brother in Jesus Christ with whom he was meeting on a regular basis. They were working through a Bible study on Christian marriage. He would occasionally update me on their progress which was usually optimistic. On this one occasion, however, his demeanor changed and he was dejected.
“We both know that we have to sacrifice and honor our wives. You know, like the Bible states in Ephesians Chapter 5.”
“Well, I’ve tried this and she is never going to change.” He sighed and shook his head. “We both agreed that we just have to cope.”
The statement was a punch to my gut. I loved my brother in Christ and did not know all of the struggles that led the two of them to this conclusion but I did not want to know. I refused to accept it. Coping was not living victoriously in Jesus Christ. I didn’t want to cope. I wanted to thrive.
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing…
Psalms 92:12-14 (NKJV)
Whether it is our marriage, friendships or workplace relationships, God did not create us to simply cope with our lives. He created us to flourish, to thrive! If we accept anything less than that, we limit God’s sovereign will and omnipotent power in our lives.
“He is selfish and never wants to listen to me!”
“She doesn’t appreciate how hard I work and sacrifice for this family!”
“I’ve done everything I can possibly do!”
I have heard myself and others emit these plaintive cries to God, complaining about their spouses. When I utter these seemingly selfless cries, defending my actions, I am unwittingly pointing the finger at myself, acknowledging that I am the selfish partner. I am blaming God for my lack of faith that I doubt He is able to accomplish what He promises to do. It is not the other person’s fault and it is certainly not God’s fault. The blame solely rests upon me and as honest I try to be with myself, I never want to hear or accept this.
Why is my faith so small? I refuse to firmly plant myself in God’s will and submit to Him. Instead, I obey my will and rely upon my life experiences to navigate a relationship that I am treating like an ordinary relationship. God has elevated the marriage relationship and blessed it as holy. I should fear God and acknowledge that a holy relationship demands submission to a holy God.
I cannot cope with this. God created marriage to thrive and flourish!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.