“If you don’t laugh, you’ll probably cry.” That’s what came to mind after writing to a friend who is hurting in her marriage and then reading something sent to us that made us laugh. The laughter is like a healing balm that the Lord sent at the right time. How grateful we are that we have a God who knows that is what we needed! In this Marriage Message we hope this will be what you need, as well —inspiration to consider and then moments of laughter to enjoy.
First, let me explain. Our friend was going through a time of “darkness” in her marriage. She and her husband both personally “know” the Lord but they weren’t connecting relationally, so things were tense (to say the least). With the help of a counselor, and their looking to the Lord for guidance, we know that things will “work together for the good” (as we’re told in Romans 8:28) because both of them ARE “called according to God’s good purpose.” But it doesn’t mean that the “journey” along the way is without pain, or times of questioning and wondering.
In this message we’re sharing a portion of the advice we gave to our friend (which doesn’t reveal anything personal about the situation to keep confidentiality). We’re hoping it might inspire you (or someone you know) as you journey through a “dark” time in your life and/or your marriage:
“I pray that as you proceed through this day that you will see God’s ‘gentle lights.’ Author Max Lucado talks about ‘Doubtstorms.’ He says ‘there are snowstorms; there are hailstorms; there are rainstorms; and there are doubtstorms.’ He describes doubtstorms as ‘those turbulent days when the enemy is too big, the task is too great, the future too bleak, and the answers are too few.’ But then he goes on to describe ‘gentle lights’ as ‘God’s solutions for doubtstorms —not thunderbolts —not explosions of light —just gentle lights —visible evidence of the invisible hand. It’s soft reminders that optimism is not just for fools.’
“He goes on to say, ‘When God comes, we doubters think, all pain will flee. Life will be tranquil and no questions will remain. But because we look for the bonfire, we miss the candle. Because we listen for the shout, we miss the whisper. But it is in burnished candles that God comes and through whispered promises he speaks: ‘When you doubt, look around; I am closer than you think.’ In each day, we hope you will look for and see God’s gentle lights.
“When we were in Kenya visiting our prodigal son (an archeologist doing research there at the time), we asked God to show us ‘God moments.’ We sensed God was taking us on a journey of growth —that if we really looked beyond what our eyes could see, God would show us He was working in our son’s life. Ours would be a faith-stretching experience as if God was saying, ‘you say you trust me. Will you trust Me even when you don’t SEE my hand at work —to know that I AM?’ We committed to trust and not complain but to look for Him wherever we were. If He chose to reveal any of His workings we would be grateful, but being on a ‘faith-walk’ means pressing on even when it doesn’t make ‘human’ sense to do so.
“At that point we started to see things we never saw before —God’s ‘gentle lights’ in the midst of everything else that was going on. Eventually it got to be so blatantly obvious that by the end of our trip, we figured our son was processing things in his mind like, ‘how did they pull all of this off when I know they didn’t have any way of setting things up ahead of time?’ And we didn’t. GOD did! For our son, we’re thinking it became irritating. But thankfully, we saw God’s graciousness in allowing us to ‘peek’ at the spiritual work going on all around.
“For you, this would be different. Both of you know the Lord. But in other ways it’s the same. Your husband isn’t ‘aware’ of all that’s going on around him. He’s still caught up in how this affects his life. He doesn’t see that he has to look beyond himself —taking his wants and desires out of it (Philippians 2 in action) in order to ultimately get the best that God has for him and for both of you. I pray that one of these days he will.
“But until that day I pray that God will show you His ‘gentle lights’ so you can walk with hope that the path ahead of you won’t always be so darkened. For now God seems to be giving you ‘just enough light for the path you’re on’ (and even then it ‘appears’ to be less ‘light’ than what we need —but that shows that God is in control and not us). Someday I just know in my heart that you’ll see a brighter future and you’ll even have enough light shining in your life that you can spare giving some of it to others to help them —just as God is doing for me right now.
“I hope that you will ask God to show you His ‘gentle lights’ today and then open your eyes to start looking for them. I truly believe that you will be amazed at all of the ways in which God is blessing you and is working beneath the surface and all around you. It’s my hope that you’ll find a way to enjoy the journey as much as it’s possible and don’t forget to laugh. Look for the humor amidst the garbage and I have a feeling you’ll see some beams of light peeking through.”
After sending off that letter we received something from Crosswalk.com —a web site ministry where you can sign up for e-mailed devotionals, and more. Here’s the message we received (that brought us a lot of laughter) titled, “What He Says —What He means.” We hope it brings you laughter too:
• “’I’m going fishing.’ What this really means is: ‘I’m going to stand by a stream with a stick in my hand all day, while the fish swim by in complete safety.’
• “’It’s a guy thing’ really means ‘there is no rational thought pattern connected with it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical.’
• “’Can I help with dinner?’ really means ‘Why isn’t it already on the table?’
• “’Uh-huh.’ ‘Yes, dear’ really means absolutely nothing; It’s a conditioned response.
• “’It would take too long to explain’ really means ‘I have no idea how it works.’
• “’We’re going to be late’ really means ‘I have a legitimate excuse to drive like a maniac.’
• “’Take a break, honey, you’re working too hard’ really means ‘I can’t hear the game over the vacuum cleaner.
• “’That’s interesting, dear’ really means ‘are you still talking?’
• “’I’ve got reasons for what I’m doing’ really means ‘I sure hope I think of some pretty soon.’
• “’I can’t find it’ really means ‘it didn’t fall into my outstretched hands, so I’m clueless.’
• “’You know I could never love anyone else’ really means: ‘I’m used to the way you yell at me and realize it could be worse.
• “’You look terrific’ really means: ‘please don’t try on one more outfit; I’m starving.’
• “’I’m not lost; I know exactly where we are’ really means: ‘No one will ever see us again.’”
“Laughter through tears” is said to be some of the best medicine. We hope it will be for you. Also, please know that we provide a Prayer Wall on the Home Page of our web site to post your marriage prayer requests. And here are a few additional articles that you might find humorous and enlightening on the different approaches of husbands and wives. (Perhaps the roles are reversed, but that’s ok, just change the pronouns… and see what you can related to and learn about our differences.)
We hope this helps in some way.
Cindy and Steve Wright