What storm are you encountering … right now … at this very moment? When your marriage boat set sail on it’s journey everything was on a nice even keel; but now it’s anything but ‘smooth sailin’ and you have no idea where all the rough waters came from.
Does this present storm have you wanting to turn and run away in fear? How would you respond to Jesus as He asks you:
The disciples were clambering in a panic from their emotions. When crisis brings chop into our marriages I think we do the same thing, we end up paralyzed from our emotions and are faced with a huge temptation to focus on the circumstances and all the bad that could happen instead of all the power God has.
Isn’t this always our first wail to God?
make it stop ~ make it go away ~ make it be over
– always from our emotions.
I’m like one of the disciples, my default is to scramble to wake up Jesus before it gets too bad … before it gets too tough. What I’m really asking God to do is to change my circumstances. The disciples had already witnessed Jesus perform 3 miracles, yet when the storm hit, they still didn’t trust. I think this is why Jesus was agitated with them and why He calls this “little” faith. The answer isn’t in God changing the people around us or the circumstances we’re in (as we often ask Him to do), but in Christ alone. Diligently trusting. Diligently staying and standing, trusting that God will finish what He started.
~ Diligence is definitely the key ~
In 2 Peter 1, Peter lays out the track that will lead to a bigger faith that is the close intimate relationship Jesus is looking to have with us. For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue …
Without diligence faith will stay “little”. Changed circumstances won’t grow you closer to Jesus. All this does is keep your faith muscles weak from lack of exercise, which puts you further away from intimate knowledge of Jesus and authentic fellowship with Him. (2 Peter 1:5-8)
Then, when you find your marriage in the middle of a terrible storm, your faith isn’t big enough to allow you the peace needed to stay with it. Don’t forget, Jesus was asleep during the storm.
Circumstances of the storm
- They were fisherman accustom to being on all kinds of water; they knew storms – this one was bad.
- They didn’t plan it, or plan for it. Zero control over it. And no help from anyone else.
- Their response revealed where their faith really was. Nothing like a good surprise storm to reveal your true level of courage on the open water.
They wanted Jesus to change the circumstances they were in; for Him to stop the storm and for it to be all over. But Jesus wanted to show them a different way to get on the other side of it. He wanted them to ride-out the storm by conquering through faith in Him.
Circumstances of a storm in marriage
- It doesn’t matter how well you think you know your spouse, people are not static. We are all healing, growing and changing. We are all capable of sin because we are sinners.
- Offences come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colours. We have no control over how Satan is going to try and divide a marriage. You can guarantee he’s not going to be upfront … he hides and pushes from behind and it feels like you are capsizing.
- Nothing like a good spur of the moment crisis to reveal where you really are in your faith. How I respond to offence will show me just how much of my heart has been molded into the image of Christ.
How do you pray for your spouse when your marriage is confronted with crisis? This is when our true character of faith emerges. No rote responses. No practice runs or plans of eloquent words.
There’s really only 2 choices:
- Fear: Pray for the circumstances to change, asking God to remove our hardship and make it easy so that we don’t have to exercise faith. We want God to take away free choice and change those around us and what they are doing.
- Faith: We boldly stand in the confidence that comes from a bigger faith, diligently trusting as God shapes us into conquerors.
Similar to worry, which literally divides your strength in half, fear will eat away at the faith that is needed to sustain you through a storm in your marriage. It will lead you by the nose as a blind coward that is timid and afraid. Diligence in faith will drive you to where the real power is: closer to Christ.
The next time you and your spouse find your placid pond whipped into a frenzy of a storm, try asking yourself: What am I going to focus on, the storm or Jesus. It takes work and training to resist the temptation to rush to Jesus with that prayer of, “change everything else,” instead of, “with Your power, change me.”