WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
Consider This: When things go wrong, or bad things happen, where do you put your trust? What is the source and object of your faith? Unlike those outside the community of faith, we have an anchor; we have Someone who is all-knowing and all-powerful whom we can trust for guidance and strength. We live in a world where things are not always as they seem; reality is often hidden behind illusion. Couples who appear to have a perfect marriage may be miserable at home. A businessperson who seems successful could be on the verge of bankruptcy. Faith never comes to us by logic or reason, or by what we see. God’s wisdom, which comes by faith, frees us to see through the illusion of appearances.
Discuss: Often, one spouse Is more talkative than the other is. How can making the effort to ensure more balance make conversations more enjoyable and interesting?
Pause Here: Consider becoming an editor of your mind, rehearsing things before you speak. Walking in this reality allows us to do what is best for others and for ourselves. Ask God to help you apply these truths the next time your faith comes under fire, especially with your spouse.
“If you love, you will suffer, and if you do not love, you do not know the meaning of a Christian life.”
Agatha Christie (1891-1976)
Faith is not a means to escape reality. Rather, it helps us to face reality, which often begins with our relationship with our spouse. When we apply our faith in a practical way, we are better able to love our spouse unconditionally, even with his or her imperfections. A deep faith in God carries with it a realistic awareness of our own failings and the grace to forgive the failings of others. We grow in faith by hearing, believing, trusting, and acting on the Word of God.
A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
Consider This: Joseph’s brothers put him in a pit and left him to die; later on, they sold him into slavery. Things became worse; he ended up in prison. Somewhere along the way, most of us would have “lost our faith” and given in to major depression. Yet, Joseph remained faithful. Years later, when his brothers found him in Egypt as second in command to Pharaoh, Joseph explained that what they had meant for evil, God meant for good.
Although your view of your current circumstances may be blocked, be assured that God knows His plans for you. “How can this (loss, setback, illness) be good?” you cry out. This is the time to choose the right attitude. You can choose to rejoice in knowing God is building your character, and your marriage, though the trial. Allowing God to work His purposes in our lives teaches us, over time, to trust what He is forming in us. Think about your life right now. Do the situations you are in make you fearful, or do you have a positive expectation that when the next problem comes, God will be there again and again, continuing the work He is accomplishing in you. Every time we allow ourselves to react negatively to a particular person or situation, we choose how it affects us. We choose to feel angry and frustrated, or we choose to be patient and considerate by taking Joseph’s example. We will eventually understand that problems come to and through our lives for a purpose! This is how God shapes us into the image of His Son. God has great plans for you and your spouse. He sees a bright and fulfilling future for you if you will simply follow His guidance and trust Him for the good outcome.
Discuss: God usually guides one step at a time. How do you respond when it seems as though God is withholding His guidance?
Pause Here: Write three long- or short-term goals for your marriage and family. Talk about them with your spouse. Shared goals will add unity, strength, and purpose to your marriage. “Date nights” are a great time to discuss your goals, dreams, and desires together. Make date nights a priority–not just to talk about goals, but also to nurture romance, have fun, and relax.