The instinct was there – I was going to fix this. My husband had gotten into a pretty serious fight with one of my good friends’ husband. It started over miscommunication and ended with deep and cutting personal stabs at each other. One attacked the physical prowess of the other while the other attacked the spiritual maturity of one. It was not where their hearts had wanted to go, but it was where they landed.
On the phone with my girlfriend, we plotted how we would fix it. We knew the kind of men our husbands were. Short of a miracle, there would likely be no healing of their relationship. Neither one was super prone to reach out to the other one, making that first step beyond pride. We, friend and I, were determined to be that miracle. I would talk to my husband and she would talk to hers…
But wait – hadn’t we just heard a sermon about the greatness of God? Our church had just begun a sermon series on the “4G’s of God” based off of a book by Tim Chester called “You Can Change” and it focused on the following concepts:
- God is Great – so we don’t have to be in control.
- God is Good – so we don’t have to look elsewhere.
- God is Gracious – so we don’t have to prove ourselves.
- God is Glorious – so we don’t have to fear others.
In his book, Tim Chester suggests that “underlying all of our sinful behavior and negative emotions is a failure to believe one of these truths at a functional level” When we understand and accept this fact and embrace the truths about who God is, then we can be set free from the chains of our earthly struggles.
I personally had a revelation during the “God is Great” message when our lead-teaching elder began to bring home the point that all of our sin can be traced back to this basic unbelief in the character of God. He mentioned that if we really believed that God is great, the impact on our life would be tremendous.
I specifically had related the impact of God’s greatness to my marriage as I had sat in the pew that Sunday morning, but how quickly I had forgotten the lesson. Sitting at the stoplight, plotting with my friend on how to “manage” (nicer word for “control”) the situation, I suddenly realized something – I was not affording God the opportunity to be great in this situation.
So, I told Deana that we would pray. Granted, I had the backup plan in my head already, but we made the decision that we would just pray for a miracle in our husbands’ hearts to take place. We let it go.
It was hard to believe, but the very next day, my husband forwarded me the email conversation between him and my friend’s husband. As I read it, shock and disbelief followed by profound gratefulness and delight covered my being. There were the words in black and white, written back and forth between our two men. They were words of understanding, of grace, and of forgiveness. They had reconciled and my friend and I had done nothing – except pray!
The lesson I learned that day has begun to permeate my life, especially my married life. I hope it can do the same for yours.
1 – Prayer is the MOST POWERFUL WEAPON that we have. It is not a last resort, all-we-can-do-now type of tool. It is a direct connection to the most powerful being in the entire universe who happens to love us intimately and care about every detail of our lives. It might not always result in the direct response that we want right then and there. After all, God is not our genie. But He will be faithful to work all things together for our good and His glory – especially in our marriage.
2 – God is tremendously great, and if He is great, then I do not have to be in control. I can step back and create the room in my life and in my relationships for Him to work. In fact, when I step in and try to fight the battle, I begin to get in His way and can muddle progress.
Do you ever worry about your marriage? Do you get to fully enjoy the man that you married? Or are you concerned about the things we are generally concerned about? Are you plotting and planning how you can “help” his spiritual growth? Are you pleading for the day when he will step up as spiritual leader in your home, all the while “showing” him how it should be done? Do you worry about betrayal and rejection? Do you find yourself strategically “encouraging” him to grow closer to God or to be more “Christian?” Let me encourage you to stop!
As I have come to trust in the greatness of God and actively apply it to my marriage, I have come to a point where I can truly appreciate and enjoy the man that God brought to me as a soul-mate. I realize more and more that he is not my responsibility and his battles are not my battles. Rather, he is my partner, my friend, and my love. He is not my responsibility; he is my enjoyment. After all, I have my own battles to fight.
When you believe that God is great, that He cares about you and your marriage, and that He has a plan for you and your spouse, you can relax. He has it under control and what better hands could you be in?