Mid-year is a big time for our church as we have a celebration dinner where all our campuses around the city come together and break bread together. It’s a night where we reflect on the good things the body has contributed across various activities both locally and overseas. Plus we look forward to the next year and share a vision for how and where the church can contribute. It’s called our Vision Builders dinner.
During the course of the week leading up to the event, I had been reading Exodus 33 where Moses on being commanded to leave Sinai demanded of God that he wouldn’t go anywhere without His presence. Let’s have a look at the passage:
“Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”
And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.” (Exodus 33: 12-15 NKJV)
Who do we rely upon?
Many commentators believe the favour of God on Moses increased the very moment he said yes and only if God would go with Him. God wants us to be people who do not depend on our own ability, but upon Him.
So often we can set a vision and seek to realise it through our own efforts. Similarly, we can do likewise with the vision we have for our marriages and dealing with the struggles we mismatched ones experience. Many of us love to fix issues quickly, to resolve the struggle, to end the stress of disagreement. It’s natural: who enjoys walking around a house thinking we’re stepping on eggshells or hopping into bed grumpy/angry with our loved one. It’s a lousy feeling, isn’t it?
Even though we sometimes struggle to appreciate it usually there is a lot of stuff going on inside our partner (and ourselves) that we don’t necessarily appreciate. There’s a lifetime of “stuff” that has had an impact, positively and not-so-positively. Yes, girls your husbands who are the quiet, less communicative types still have lots going on inside. (they may not even be aware of it)
And this adds to the complexity and challenge of marriage. And as we all know we then add our “spiritually unmatched” bit and the degree of challenge just goes up.
But the Lord knows what’s going on in each of us. He knows why we are who we are. He understands how being spiritually mismatched adds another challenge to marriage.
That’s why like Moses we need to the Lord’s presence to go with us at all times in our homes and wherever else life takes us. It’s too hard otherwise.
“To be a Christian is to be like Christ.” (Brennan Manning)
The more I study the Gospels the more I appreciate how Jesus didn’t do stuff in his own strength.
“Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19 NKJV)
But the longer I walk this journey with the Lord the more I realise it’s all about doing it with Him. When we spend time with Him both in the secret place (Matthew 6:6) and throughout our days we can both enjoy His presence and be guided by Him.
Does this mean our marriage struggles will suddenly dissolve? No. But in revealing more of His heart for our partners and us we can step out with more confidence (shaky at first) in loving them.
“It is the relationship and intimacy that grows out of remaining in Him that allows you to know His heart …” (Heidi Baker)
If you’re going through a particularly tough time at present may I encourage you to be as bold as Moses and ask the Lord to go with you. To invade your home and heart. And when He says yes, enjoy spending time getting to know His heart for you, your partner and family.
As we know there’s power in our sharing we each other. I encourage you to share in the comments (or if you prefer the FB group) how we can pray specifically for you and your marriage.
Grace and peace, dear SUMites.