May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.COLOSSIANS 1:11 ESV
In this first chapter of Colossians, Paul prays for the people of Colossi, that God may strengthen them with his glorious power for endurance and patience. In yesterday’s devotion, we learned the original Greek word for endurance means long-suffering with people. We know we need His strength and His glorious might if we are going to make it to the finish line married to the same person.
But our difficulties in marriage aren’t just about the person we’re married to, sometimes the greatest challenges come in the trials we face together, so Paul prays for both endurance and patience. The Greek word for patience translates as long suffering for situations or circumstances. When we walk through the valleys—both those that are caused by us and those that are the result of someone else’s sin—we need His strength to keep walking. We need His strength to put one foot in front of the other. We need His patience to see the trial through to the end.
Our time together as a married couple will see us through many seasons of life, and in those seasons, we will have an incredible number of difficult situations. When we’re young, challenges of our financial struggle, demands of new careers and young children, striving toward our dreams and goals, can all put a strain on our marriages. We’re distracted by the many responsibilities, and we find little time to spend with each other. The middle years present even more challenges—careers become more demanding as responsibilities increases, bigger children bring bigger problems, aging parents bring greater commitments. Over time, we can grow further and further apart, distracted by the obligations outside our marriages. As we continue to prioritize those commitments, we have little energy left to give to the person we’re walking through the valleys with. We stop holding their hand, stop sharing our hearts, we stop putting them first.
The trials of life can overwhelm us. The struggle of a long-term illness, the painful road of addiction, the challenges of caring for elderly parents—anyone who’s been married for any length of time can tell you that life together is challenging. You just never know what’s around the next corner. Our initial reaction to these trials is to work toward a resolution. Our striving creates the distraction because we lack the patience to wait on God’s plan. Over time, as the difficult trial persists, we grow exhausted from the work it takes to endure, and we retreat into ourselves. We become distance and we stop communicating. Our world becomes more about that problem than it does about each other. Suddenly we find ourselves looking across the table at someone we barely know, or we barely want to know. It can be easy to just walk away.
These can all be worldly distractions from the marriage God intended for you, or they can all be refining tools He’s using to draw you closer to God. But if we’re going to allow them to bring us closer, we need to tap into His strength. We need His patience to see our trials through to the end. We need to wait and trust that He will be glorified if we commit to continuing to run the race and continuing to hold their hand, despite what life throws at us.
Marriage is hard. It is a constant battle and there are difficult people and difficult situations all around us. God never meant for us to do this in our own power. We know that God calls us to live a life of endurance and patience, but we also need to understand He has made no provision for us to do this on our own. He has given us His Spirit. If we are going to walk in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord, we must learn to yield our desires, and allow His Spirit to fill us.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗