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
There is so much wisdom in this verse for our lives and for our marriage. Peter not only reminds us to trust God when we are suffering because He is faithful, but he also reminds us that we should be doing good when we’re suffering. This is a truth that many of us struggle against—to do good while we’re in a trial is incredibly challenging. The world teaches us to wallow in our troubles, that we have a right to live in our sorrow. Many of our friends or family will jump right into the pit with us, comfort us, and justify our choice to stay there. If we’re hurting or we’re overwhelmed with our circumstances, we have a tendency to retreat into ourselves because we have been taught this is how we manage our emotions. We become so wrapped up in our suffering that we can’t possibly put others needs before our own. We allow our trials to consume us—they control our emotions and our actions.
If our hearts are aching from a hurt caused by our spouse, it’s extremely difficult to even think good, much less do good for the person who offended us. If we’re consuming with the pressure of a job, a draining bank account, aging parents, or needy children, we just don’t have the capacity to give anything more. There’s nothing left. We reason that we’re the ones who deserve the good, so we justify our selfish desire to nurse our wounds or indulge ourselves rather than love our spouse sacrificially. We put ourselves first.
Interestingly, God tells us throughout Scripture that we should be responding with the exact opposite attitude. Over and over, we are told to do good and to put others before ourselves. In the midst of a deep valley, our tendency is to reason that God didn’t mean for us to do good at a time like this. We rationalize that we’ll do good when we have the time or when we’re through this difficult season. We’ll do good when we feel better.
But it is exactly in these moments that we are called to do good. God doesn’t call us to do good when it’s easy for us. He doesn’t need to remind us to be loving to our spouses when they’re serving us or meeting our needs. He doesn’t need to tell us to find a way to encourage or lift up our spouse when we have the time. We need the reminder when it’s hard because He knows the good it will bring to us and to our marriage.
Serving others takes the focus off of ourselves. When we are deep in a trial, our emotions can keep us in our own heads, making it difficult to see our circumstances from a broader perspective, from His perspective. It can be hard to see our situation accurately. But we know from Scripture that our hearts are deceitful. Our heart wants us to stay in the anger or the bitterness, it wants us to stay in the anxiety or the despair. Serving others takes the focus off of ourselves, places it on others, and invites God to work—in both our own hearts, and in the hearts of those we’re serving.
Doing good breaks down barriers and softens hearts. It might look like a gentle response when harsh words are thrown or letting go of an offense. It might look like an intentional evening planned for just the two of you despite your busy schedules or it might look like putting your phone down and just listening. It might look like words of encouragement when the other is ranting, or it might look like grabbing their hand and praying over their struggle. Doing good is sacrificial. It is putting down what you want, and choosing them because that’s what God calls us to do.
Nothing stopped Jesus from doing good, even when He was suffering. He loved sacrificially when it was hardest, and in doing so, He brought the kingdom of God to this broken world. Nothing should stop us from doing good. It is in those most challenging moments of our marriage we are to sacrificially love our spouses because that is how we bring the kingdom of God to this broken world.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗