The other night I sat with a friend in a coffee shop as we swapped the latest details of our lives. I shared with her about my father’s funeral, which led to me telling her about a conversation I recently had with my husband.
I asked him this question years ago, but since my father’s death, the need to ask again had suddenly presented itself. Did he still believe when he died, that was it? He just ceased to exist. He said yes. Then I asked what if at the end, he finds out he’s wrong?
His answer continues to make me fearful for him. He said he’d deal with it. I expressed my concern over this and what it really means. And I shared my heart. I didn’t want to think about him not being in heaven. I told him I wanted him there with me.
But for him this is foolishness. God doesn’t exist, therefore, worrying over something nonexistent makes no sense to him.
I shared this with my friend, and she brought up the Scriptures below and her suspicion that there might be a clue to be found. I took up her challenge.15-16But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
17Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. — 1Cor. 7:16-17
All through the Psalms, the writers call out to God to save them. The Hebrew form of the word “save” predominantly used is yasha` which means to be delivered, to be saved (in battle), be victorious, and even is used in terms of saving from moral troubles.
In the New Testament, when the disciples and others call to Christ to save them, the Greek word used for save is sōzō and means to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction. When used in reference to a person it goes further to mean to save from suffering (from perishing), from disease, to make well, heal, and restore health. The technical biblical sense of the word tenders upon the penalties of Messianic judgment and “to save from the evils which obstruct the reception of the Messianic deliverance.”*
The one used in 1Cor. 7:15-17 is sōzō. As I read its meanings, a thought crossed my mind. We know we can’t save our unbelieving spouses. We don’t hold that power, nor the authority. We are called to pray for them according to God’s will. But what if our roll as Christ’s representatives played a deeper role than we’ve considered. What if we were to view ourselves as an element of healing in our spouses’ spiritual lives and this is our calling?
Take a look at these verses as translated in The Message:15-16On the other hand, if the unbelieving spouse walks out, you've got to let him or her go. You don't have to hold on desperately. God has called us to make the best of it, as peacefully as we can. You never know, wife: The way you handle this might bring your husband not only back to you but to God. You never know, husband: The way you handle this might bring your wife not only back to you but to God.
17And don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. (my emphasis) Don't think I'm being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches.
The line I emphasized says it all, doesn’t it? What is God calling you to do in your marriage?
Praying and believing,
*Greek and Hebrew definitions researched at www.blueletterbible.org.
Share your voice, heart and love in the comments.
Marching Around Jericho is a spiritual guide. As you read through the pages, powerful and transformative instruction and equipping takes place. We follow Jesus as he leads us around the walls, imparting kingdom truths with each passing, finally arriving at the gates of the walled-off city, our spouse’s unbelieving heart. After the circles in prayer are complete, we arrive fully prepared to command the walls to crumble and be removed, making a way for our spouse to step from the rubble of lies and captivity, into faith and freedom!