Devotion #114

With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!

Psalm 142:1-3 ESV

When we’ve been hurt by the words or actions by our spouse, when we’ve suffered an injustice at hand of our partner, when we’ve been betrayed by the one we love, our flesh wants to respond. We want to take things into our own hands, and let them know just how wrongly they’ve treated us. We want to take our pain to others and tell them of the unfair treatment. Even when they seemingly apologize for their wrong, the hurt in our hearts don’t want to let it go. We want to punish and we want others to know about it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If you’ve been sinned against, Scripture tells us we should take that sin to the person who offended us. God doesn’t call you to be a doormat—you aren’t just supposed to deny evil. A spade is a spade, and God tells us we can call it as it is. Sin causes relational strife that isn’t truly healed until the offender asks for forgiveness. The problem is in our approach. Far too often when we’ve been offended, our flesh response is a sin in return. We pridefully respond from a place of superiority, we angrily scream harsh words in return, we retaliate with the silent treatment. None of these flesh responses bring about reconciliation or promote unity and peace, so none of them are sanctioned by God. 

Before we address the sin of another person, we have to take it to God. We must cry out to Him when we’ve suffered at the hands of our spouse. It is only then that we will find healing. David offers us a model for prayer when we have been injured in this psalm; and if you take a closer look, you can see how God teaches us to complain.

In the first stanza, David fervently cries out to God, he pours out his complaint, and he tells God his trouble. His prayer is intense as he calls on his Lord, but don’t miss that David also pleads for God’s mercy. David’s prayer is a groaning of his struggle, but it’s done in submission to God’s sovereign will. Our prayers should be heartfelt and honest, but they should always be in submission to God and His sovereign will. This should be received as a word of caution to us. God is never wrong, and He never wrongs anyone. His ways are right, and He is sovereign over every aspect of your life—even, and especially over your marriage. He chose your spouse specifically for you because He knows that person will ultimately bring out your good. If you’re wrestling with an injustice that you think God unfairly allowed into your life by means of your spouse, you need to confess your lack of submission. Before we can address our spouse with the wrong they committed, we need to have this truth right in our hearts.

David’s prayer continues with the acknowledgement that he cannot overcome his foes, only God can. God is all sufficient, we are not. We have such a tendency to think that we can handle our spouse when they’ve offended us. Our superior nature believes that we have the right to demand humility and restitution as we angrily point our finger at their sin. David was humble as he admitted his own insufficiency. He didn’t tell God to get behind him and back him as he approached his foe. No, he admitted he could not do in his power, and he calls on God’s power. One of the greatest errors we make as we try to live out this Christian life is we fail to go to God in prayer because we want to handle it ourselves. We continue to try to resolve it in our own power, and God continues to allow situations that overwhelm us. We cannot change our spouses. We cannot save our spouses. Only God can.

Finally, David recognizes that God knows his path. David doesn’t cry out to God in prayer because he needs to tell Him what’s happening in his life. God intimately understands the trial he’s enduring. Our prayers are not to inform God about our situation. He knows. He knows every little aspect of your life. David brought his trial to God because he knows he needed to depend on God, and prayer is the way he reminds David of His sovereignty, His comfort, His protection. Prayer is our way to join God in the fight rather than stepping into the fight alone. Prayer is the way God humbles our heart and reveals our sin to us. Prayer is the way God works in our hearts and in the hearts of our spouse.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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