Devotion #192

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

Suffering is inevitable. We know from multiple places in Scripture that trials are coming. John reminds us 16:33, “in this world, you will have tribulation.” This truth applies to your marriage as it does every other aspect of your life. You will experience conflict and dissonance in your marriage, there will be moments of discontent and frustration, you will want to walk away.

The challenges we experience in our marriages shouldn’t come as a surprise, and being a Christian doesn’t get us off the hook for heartache and struggle. References to suffering we will endure are all over Scripture. 1 Peter 1 uses words like grieve, trial, and test to describe what God is doing in our lives. Zachariah compares the suffering of our trials to a refining fire that is producing in us a precious gold. Refining metal ore is a process that takes something that it tainted and turns it into something pure. Through your struggle, God is refining the beauty and value in your heart. He will take you to places you never intended to go in order to produce in you what you could not achieve on your own. He will use your marriage to stretch your ability to show patience and grace, your ability to forgive and work toward peace in ways you simply cannot do living in your own world.

Joy is a choice. The joy we find in trials comes from the deliberate choice to acknowledge the reassuring truth that God is sovereign over every experience in our life. He uses our sufferings for growth. He’s not sitting up in heaven looking down on the mess that your marriage is in, surprised that the union He chose for you isn’t working out. He knew you were going to in moments where you struggle to move forward—that struggle is part of His plan. 

God wants us to choose joy in our struggle because He desires for us to know steadfastness—this is the state of a refined heart. When we are steadfast, we are not easily provoked or angered by difficult situations. We are gentle and kind, understanding and giving, compassionate and loving. When we are steadfast, we do not lose heart under great trials, but we hold fast to the hope that is ours in Christ Jesus. We count our struggles with joy because we understand He is using our trials to produce in us an enduring faith.

Press on – you are loved. 💗

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