One of the greatest challenge is a spiritually mismatched marriage is seeing hope when we see none. I think this is true of any difficult and ongoing situation for us as believers AND as human beings. How do we keep going when everything within us says walking away would be the easier choice?
Truth is, it may be the easier choice, but is it the right one? Probably not. Those trials and challenges in our life are there for a reason. God has a plan for all of it—for us and everyone involved. And I’ve never known God to be interested in the easy solution. On the contrary, He’s more interested in helping us become more like Christ and building our character than making our lives easy.
And marriage is one of those training grounds. It’s not about us. It’s not even completely about our spouse. This is about eternity—ours, our spouse’s and our children’s. Even on our roughest days, it’s vital that we step back and view our challenges in the light of two truths:
1. This is just one small view of a giant picture God is building every second of our lives. Our feelings change moment to moment, day to day, even year to year, as do our circumstances. The picture you’re looking at may be completely different next year, next week, or even in the next hour. Sometimes our biggest issue in these times is fear. We’re so afraid of what might be that we forget who’s in control. There’s a reason Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow. When you worry about what could happen (or not happen), you’ve not only stopped trusting God, you’ve completely tinged your viewpoint, your mood and your hope for what could be a turn around you never imagined possible.
2. The bigger picture—what are we working toward? I know some days just seem more about survival and there are times when God asks for no more than that. But He loves us too much to allow us to stay there. We can choose to walk the trials of life and marriage with the goal to learn and become more closely a reflection of who God created us to be—a design that will come to completion when we are reunited with Him in heaven. Or we can choose to stay in a place of stubbornness because we’re more interested in getting what we want now. That impatience is so destructive to our lives from the smallest of places to the largest. You have to ask yourself if you’re willing to do whatever God asks because you love him more than you love yourself.
If you look at every challenge as an opportunity to serve God and make Him proud, then you have eternity in your sights and you’ve centered your hope squarely on God. That’s when we discover victory in our hearts and lives even when nothing around us seems to have changed. We have changed though. Dramatically. This is also where we find that peace that surpasses understanding that Paul talks about and we are operating in God’s strength, not our own. And it’s the hope God has for us every millisecond of our lives.
Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed. — Isaiah 49:23 (NIV)
Praying and believing,