“Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.” (Amos 9:11, NLT)
I know that you are asking God to fulfill these words in your marriage, and I earnestly join you in that prayer, believing that God’s heart is strong for healing and reconciliation. But I also know that at this moment, you sense only cold silence and closed doors.
I want to encourage you that you are not alone in your pain, God is not discouraged, and His plan for your life is not in tatters.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NIV)
God is not limited by your emotions. You can feel low and yet have strong faith. As you set your will to follow God, He works powerfully through your yielded spirit.
“Therefore, since we do hold and engage in this ministry by the mercy of God …, we do not get discouraged (spiritless and despondent with fear) or become faint with weariness and exhaustion.” (1 Corinthians 4:1, AMPC)
I pray that the following five truths will strengthen you today.
1. God’s mighty purposes for your life and your marriage are not thwarted.
“I know that You can do anything and no plan of Yours can be thwarted.”
(Job 42:2, HCSB)
God is still using your marriage to draw you closer to Him. The Spirit is still using you to show those around you what God looks like. You have the opportunity to reveal God as a forgiving God, full of generous grace, unfailing commitment, and unconditional love. In fact, it is when our marriages are difficult that we are most able to demonstrate these awesome attributes of God.
And when our marriages are difficult, we are often able to see our own hearts better. When a spouse is warm and supportive, we may believe that we are more loving than we really are. “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” is usually a pleasant transaction, not a self-denying sacrifice. But when we serve a spouse without receiving appreciation or even acknowledgment, then our inner responses reveal our true motivation.
As others have pointed out, when we are treated like servants, we quickly learn whether we have servant’s hearts or not! When we are not receiving positive feedback, we have the privilege to serve purely for the sake of love.
2. Your calling to cherish and to care for your covenant partner has not changed.
How you carry out that task has changed, but you can still love her well.
Always, you can provide a covering of earnest prayer for your wife. Praying faithfully is one of the most significant and most powerful things you will ever do. The greatest accomplishment of your life may be your perseverance in prayer for your wife and children, sharing God’s burdened heart for them.
“Your prayers are God’s way of accomplishing the victory of Jesus Christ over this world.” (John Piper, desiringgod.com)
You can always fight on your knees!
“Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” (Nehemiah 4:14, NLT)
3. God allows you to wrestle honestly with Him.
Many times, we understand that our spouses’ resistance toward our marriages may actually be resistance to God. But it can be much harder to recognize our own inner struggles as wrestling matches with God.
As we churn with turmoil and darkness in our spirits, we usually focus on our spouses and the conflict between us. But we may need to recognize that we are actually struggling with God.
Deep down, we may feel that He should not have allowed this pain in our lives or that He is not being a good God to us. We may believe that He has failed us or is negligent in keeping His promises. We may wonder if he is a God worth following even through intense suffering. Is He truly sufficient to satisfy the longings of our hearts?
Simply recognizing that we are struggling with God can be very helpful because then we can verbalize our troubling thoughts and begin to deal effectively with these core issues.
In the Old Testament, we learn that the patriarch Jacob wrestled with God at the Jabbok River (Genesis 32:22-31). In my life, I wrestled with God in fear and confusion, but eventually, I learned that God wanted only to bless me.
4. This is your opportunity to come against the enemy like never before.
It is good to worship God in the light, but it is powerful to worship Him in the darkness. Prison bars are broken and chains are snapped when God’s people worship in the darkness of their pain.
Long before Jacob wrestled with God, he encountered God on another difficult night. Jacob was running for his life when he stopped to sleep on the hard ground, using an even harder stone as his pillow. In the middle of the night, God met Jacob in the middle of his crisis, and there God gave Jacob strong promises. The next day, Jacob took the stone, set it up, and poured oil over it, turning it into an altar of worship before the Lord.
You, too, can meet with God in the dark and hard places of your life. You can take the stone of suffering in your life and set it up as an altar to God. As you surrender to the goodness of God, an outpouring of the Spirit of God will be like oil flowing over your spirit. Your worship on hard ground will create a sacred place to encounter the Living God and to experience His promises and His presence.
I do not take your pain lightly. The rejection of a spouse can be more devastating than the death of a spouse, and it can be difficult to know how to process the grief in healthy ways. Give yourself much grace, pour your heart out to God, and soak in His love. Meditate on His fervent love for you personally, and be aware of His Presence with you. He is attentive to you. He is careful and tender, mindful of every detail in your life. He will love you well.
God has a high purpose, lasting significance, and a true honor for you. The enemy cannot thwart the purposes of God for you. There is no darkness that is darkness to God. There is no confusion, wavering, or bewilderment with God. Even in our darkness, He is light (Micah 7:8).
This is an immense opportunity for you! You are being invited to invade enemy territory—to plant the flag of Christ in victory, proclaiming that the love of God is stronger than the rejection of people. The love of God is our healing, our thriving, our comfort, and our joy.
5. God has called you to this, and He will make you successful—successful as a man who trusts his God and who faithfully fights the good fight.
You have not been tossed aside by God. You have been called to join in the suffering of Christ with joy for the sake of eternal victories and for the richer savoring of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:24).
Tune your ear to hear the voice of God. Refuse to listen to the lies of your enemy, Satan. He is the relentless accuser of your soul, and he comes only to steal and to destroy (John 10:10).
Resist him! Stand firm in your faith, as your brothers throughout the world, are also doing (1 Peter 5:9-10). Draw strength from their example, and add strength to the Body through your example.
Please do not shrink back (Hebrews 10:39). Please do not despise your calling. The Body of Christ needs you to be faithful where God has assigned you.
Set your face and faith like flint, determined to do God’s will (Isaiah 50:7). You will not be shamed, and you will not be disappointed when you see what God has been doing through your yieldedness to Him (Romans 5:5).
“Your right hand, O LORD, is glorious in power. Your right hand, O LORD, smashes the enemy.” (Exodus 15:6, NLT)
God is not defeated in your life. He is fighting, and He intends to show Himself glorious.
“Be strong and courageous. … The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:7, NIV)
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