Are you feeling defeated in your life and your marriage? We encourage you to read the following true testimony, which was sent to us from a friend of the Marriage Missions ministry:
“One year ago, my husband was off to rehab, my future was bleak, my kids were stuck in the middle of a torn home. My home was about to be taken by foreclosure although falling apart, because I could not afford to pay it for a whole year. My next day was uncertain and not promised to me.
“In all my efforts I failed. Everything that I thought I could do, I failed. I was not as in control as I thought I was. My TV sold for drugs; my van pimped out for more drugs. A guitar that was meaningful to my husband and his father pawned for even more drug money. My job was really meaningless to what God called me to do, other than the fact that I got to witness to others. I felt unappreciated and not cared for. I felt like I was in the middle of a hurricane watching my life just being ripped from me.
“God was the still small voice inside of me releasing peace into me. He gave me Romans 15:13 ‘May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope’ (Amplified Bible).
“I answered him with, ‘Hope what was that?’ Darkness filled my life yet once again. How could I have Hope to go through this again, this was like the seventh time? I was answered by Matthew 18:21, ‘Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’ OK, but I am a righteous person.
“I was and am redeemed through Christ, a child of a King –the King of Kings. Why could this not be held from me? I was scared to death of what could happen at every moment. I was trying not to walk in fear. God then gave me 2 Timothy 1:7 ‘For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.’
“So, I refused to accept my life this way. I refused to accept my husband being beaten by this. I refused to accept that my home, my marriage, my family could be taken. I refused to think that God gave up on me. He then gave me Deuteronomy 31:6 ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.’
“So how do I fight against darkness? How do I fight against something that I can’t see or really understand? Through Ephesians 6:10-18 God told me:
“‘Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.’
“That’s how. Then he gave me Philippians 4:13 ‘I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me. And he gave me power!’ Luke 10:19 ‘I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.’ God is so amazing! He has done it all! Why should I feel sorry for myself? Why should I let the devil have the victory?
“My husband is home now. God restored my marriage, and it’s better than I asked for. I’m not saying we won’t have trials, but we’re both looking to God and that makes a big difference! My children are reaping the benefits of my hubby being back. He’s stepped into the role of being a great father and man of God. Oh, also God had the mortgage company send me a modification (that I didn’t request) with a lower interest rate than we had before. SO I got to keep my home!
“My future is only looking brighter from here. I have been able to get out of a dead end job and go back to school and also volunteer at something that I am passionate about doing. Take that Devil! You can’t have US! We are children of GOD!”
Does this encourage you? We hope so. We also hope it encourages you to pray, believing God for the “impossible.” I’m reminded of something I learned from the Beth Moore Bible study of the book of Esther. Even though this study is directed toward women, it applies to everyone and how we sometimes give up trusting God when things get tough (which often happen in marriages). She wrote:
“Once we are in Christ, Satan has no authority to destroy us, so he settles for the next best thing: THREATENING to destroy us. Based on our histories and behaviors he deduces what we are most convinced would raze us. To the Devil, the irony is delicious: Our distrust of God tattles on us, telling our enemy exactly how to get to us. Many of us habitually rehearse, ‘If ___ ever happens, then I’ll just ___.’
“Our fears become like long, bony index fingers pointing at our vulnerabilities. Once Satan sees what we believe would be the end of us, he threatens and torments us with it.
“Our natural human defense is to grovel before God and plead with Him not to let those things happen. Our conditional trust not only makes us an open target for enemy torment; it also positions us as negotiators and beggars before God instead of secure children who trust their lives to their faithful Father. Those times when our fears become reality we feel devastated. We think God is unfaithful, and Satan essentially gets what he wants —for us to believe that life is over. Unless our belief system changes, for all practical earthly purposes, it is. After all, as a man thinks, so is he (Proverbs 23:7).
“Don’t misunderstand. I’m a huge proponent of praying AGAINST what we fear and FOR the desires of our hearts. I also believe we’re free and safe to voice our worst nightmares to God. In times of crisis and demonic attack however, our vulnerable souls need something more. The most critical breakthrough of faith you and I could ever experience is to let God bring us to a place where we trust Him —period. We don’t just trust Him to let us avoid what we fear most. We determine to trust Him no matter what, even if our worst nightmare befalls us. We have no greater victory and can render Satan no harsher blow.”
Why are we sharing these thoughts? It’s because over and over again, we receive letters and see comments posted on our web site from those who think God has abandoned them when their prayers aren’t answered in the timing and the way they were sure it should be done.
But as Pastor Jim Pace challenges us to consider:
“If God were to do what I asked him to do, which is stop this, and then if he did what other people that are hurt asked him to do, which is stop the next thing and the next thing, where does God stop stopping? Is there any pain that is acceptable, that we would say, “Yes, you can let this through”?
And I don’t say that in a way to minimize the suffering families went through. I can’t imagine… I am getting choked up now. But the issue that God must deal with, that he has to, is where the end of the list is of what he allows. And if he doesn’t allow any suffering, then what are we left with? (Crosswalk.com article, “Should We Fire God?”)
It’s not that we don’t understand why those who question God have a difficult time hanging on or understanding why God doesn’t do things differently. We’ve been there and have done that ourselves over many very difficult issues. But couldn’t PART of the bigger picture over this question, happen because we live in a fallen world and that God allows us to have a free will?
Sometimes a spouse freely chooses to do wrong and tragically the other spouse and children suffer as a result. But it’s not God’s way to take over his or her mind, MAKING him or her do what is right. We have to allow God to be God and not box Him into our timing and ways of doing things. That’s what it is to “live by faith.” We have to trust, and keep trusting, looking for the redemption God will eventually bring in some way.
Deborah McCarragher talks about this in her book “Mission Possible” which is written for wives whose husbands are not yet followers of Christ. (You can find more information about this book in our “Unbelieving Spouse” web site links section.) What she writes can apply to anyone struggling in this situation. She says:
“There are times when you might question God’s timing. Don’t beat yourself up by asking why your prayers haven’t been answered yet. Don’t let the terrible trio of FEAR, DOUBT, and UNBELIEF do a number on you. The enemy loves to torture you with those, so don’t be double minded (James 1:8). Take authority and just believe. Try not to analyze why your spouse won’t ‘take hold of the cross.’ We are not the Holy Spirit. Only God searches the heart and tests the mind (Jeremiah 17:10). God knows the perfect timing and plans He has for your husband. “’For I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11). Give it over to God today!”
And we hope you will. We pray that whatever you are trusting God for in your marriage, you will not lose hope. For: “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters in the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf…“ (Hebrews 6:19-20). Again, give it over to God. P.U.S.H. Pray Until Something Happens.
“May the Lord direct your heart into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance“ (2 Thessalonians 3:5).
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ALSO —
You may find the following links to articles posted on the internet helpful to read:
• PRAY THE LORD’S PRAYER FOR YOUR MARRIAGE (Part 1)
• PRAY THE LORD’S PRAYER FOR YOUR MARRIAGE (Part 2)