Devotion #105

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

1 Peter 4:19 ESV

If God wanted our lives to be easy, they would be. But the reality is, He intends for our lives to be tools of refinement, growing us closer to Him every day. His plan in our struggling marriage is to chasten us, to produce a steadfastness in us, to complete us. In order for that to happen, we’re going to have to struggle a bit. 

Think about it—our children need chastening to grow to be respectful and responsible adults. In the same way, we need chastening to become compassion people filled with grace. The reality is without that refinement, many of us just put our own needs first. Our list of priorities, desires, and expectations rule our interactions with our spouses; and without the refinement, we will just continue to operate from a place of selfishness. God wants our lives to glorify Him. His greatest commandment is to love others and love Him. Without some serious refining, we’re just not capable of the type of sacrificial love we’re called to exhibit because we’re innately self-centered and self-focused people. Our natural bent is self-preservation, and that attitude doesn’t work in marriage.

When we enter seasons of suffering, many of us begin to question God’s goodness, wondering why He would allow such difficult circumstances if He loved us. Relational strife can cause us to question God’s faithfulness and His promises. But God has not been unfaithful in any way, and He does not leave His promises unfulfilled. The problem is not with God, it is with us. We are often not on the same page as God. Our agendas are different than His, so we grow frustrated with His decision to allow something difficult into our lives. What’s important to God is not as important to us, and what’s important to us is not as important to God.

Our definition of what God should give us is a comfortable, secure, peaceful life. We want things to be easy, and the moment they’re not, we begin to question His goodness. We think the world should be free of any kind of suffering, and be full of human affirmation. We want to be served and we want our way. The minute that things start to go wrong—in our days or our world, we begin to question how a loving God could allow such tragic things to exist.

But you simply need to spend some time on scripture to see this is not God’s plan for us. He doesn’t promise us an easy life, free of pain and suffering. No, He tells us He allows the suffering for a purpose:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4 ESV

How much of the suffering in your marriage is the result of your lack of forgiveness? How much is the result of unmet expectations? How much relational strife that you experience is the result of unfulfilled desires? How much is the result of judgment? I realize your spouse has made some grave mistakes as well, but what if you chose forgiveness and grace in the same measure it’s been shown to you? What if you chose to do good, to show good, to be good to your spouse as this verse directs?

His plan is to grow us continually toward perfection. We may not like His plan for accomplishing that perfection, but I know with certainty that is His plan. I’m thankful for a God who cares enough to come after us, even as we shake our fists at what He’s allowed in our lives, in an undying effort to chasten us.

Press on, ladies ~ you are loved 💗

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