Ken and I just celebrated our 34th anniversary. We went and saw “The Hobbit” in the new Big 3D theater. We went and picked out together a nice pair of earrings for an anniversary gift. We had a nice dinner out.
I couldn’t be more thankful for my husband, and his wonderful character, and the wonderful other half of me that he is.
But our marriage wasn’t always like that. The first 15 years or so were extremely challenging. If I just went by how things felt, I would have given up, because it didn’t feel like we were on the same sheet of music. It didn’t feel like there was any hope for us to have a good future. But I didn’t believe in divorce, and I persevered, and my marriage has now turned into one that is immeasurably more wonderful than I could have asked or imagined.
From that I learned that just because something feels like it going wrong, it doesn’t mean that it won’t work out. I learned the very important principle of trust and perseverance. I’ve used that principle often over the years. The church seemed to fall apart. My family seemed to fall apart. But as I wrestled with those situations, I came back to trusting and perseverance, and things worked out in the end.
Now I’ve realized that I’ve forgotten this during the past year. I’ve sinned by not trusting enough when things don’t FEEL right.
I was cut to the heart when I read this passage from I Cor. 10 — “God was not pleased with most of them (our ancestors); their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.”
Why was God not pleased? I Corinthians goes on to explain through admonition —
“We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.”
They grumbled. In the past six months, when things didn’t go as I thought they should, when things didn’t feel right, I grumbled in my heart. It wasn’t that some of my complaints weren’t legitimate, my sin was that I didn’t deeply TRUST that God was still working.
I was even more convicted when I read in Numbers 16 one of the situations in which the Israelites complained. They said to Moses concerning him and Aaron, “Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?”
They questioned the leadership.
Moses responded, “you are trying to get the priesthood too. It is against the Lord that you and all your followers have banded together.”
They thought they should be leading, instead of Moses and Aaron.
Now I am not saying we need to blindly follow our leaders, even if they do what is wrong. But I am saying that we make it more about God, and less about our opinions. We could be fighting God and what He is trying to do, just as the Israelites were.
I would hate for it to be said about me, “God was not pleased with her,” because I did not meet my challenges with a deep trust. The Bible even goes so far to say, “If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” Heb 10:38
By my faith, I can bring pleasure or displeasure to the very soul of God.
Let me quote something that Jack Frederick said as he defined what a disciple is, “Most of all being a disciple of Jesus is about relationship; that you know him and want to grow closer to him all your life, that you will make all your decisions based on pleasing him.”
It hits home that I need to be much more focused on pleasing God.
It’s Christmas, and we think about the little infant Jesus. I realized that if I were in charge, I would have sent baby Jesus to a powerful, accomplished family. They would have so much respect. They would be able to influence others with the good news.
It’s a good thing that God doesn’t do what I FEEL would be the best solution. God knew that Jesus had to come as an ordinary person, to an ordinary person. Because if he came to someone with any kind of worldly accomplishment, people would be tempted to value that. They would see that as the ideal. But instead Jesus came to an ordinary young girl, who would marry an ordinary working class man. And from that day on, people have had to deal with the implications of having a humble savior. Confronted with the circumstances of the birth of Jesus, we have to throw away our pride and esteem for worldly things.
The one thing that Mary did have was FAITH, a deep trust of what God was doing, even when it seemed like things were going wrong, even when she was pregnant out of wedlock.
The one thing that saved my marriage was faith, trusting and sticking to God.
Whatever I do in the new year, let it be in faith. Even if it is only a single hesitant step, may it be like walking on the water, hand in hand with Christ.
Let me reflect gratitude, because gratitude is a profound expression of trust.
And may God, in His very soul, be well pleased.
“Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” John 1:50