When Misery is Hard to Bear


Did you know that God pays very close attention to us? He takes a specific interest in our misery, especially when we cry out to Him in prayer.

The good news is He doesn’t just listen to us; He acts on our prayers. Just like He acted on behalf of the Israelites, who were enslaved to Pharaoh of Egypt, He will act on your behalf, too!

For years the Jews suffered under Pharaoh’s rule and then finally when the people probably thought there was no hope, God came to their rescue.

As with these people, when no hope seems to be in sight, He will stand up and make His greatest, most powerful move in your life.

“The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey…” Exodus 3:7-8

Notice what we learn about our Merciful and Gracious God:

  • He sees our misery.
  • He hears our cries.
  • He’s concerned about our suffering.
  • He comes down to rescue us.
  • He brings us up out of our demise into a good and spacious place of peace.

God is faithful. Faithfulness defines Him. We may not be consistently faithful. We may not always do the right thing. But if we confess our sins and trust in Him, He reveals to us who He is – faithful – no matter where we have been or what we have done. He forgives. He brings new life. His patience with us carries on and on; for even “if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).

Don’t give up. Don’t relegate yourself to the failures. Cry out to your God! Cry out to Jesus! His arms are open; is your heart open to Him?

God’s words to you:

“I have paid close attention to you and to what has been done to you. I see your misery. I hear your cry for help. I’m here for you, my child. I’m here for you, did you hear that? Open up your heart and trust My ways; for they are good and perfect. I will come to you, rescue you, and give you a new strength so you overcome your slavery. You will be whole and free. Just do this one thing, will you? Trust Me. Meditate on My Word and believe that I AM who I say that I AM. I’ll take care of the rest for you.”

 

Why God Makes Us Wait for Answers to Our Prayers?


When we go through various trials, we find ourselves on our knees more. We pray and pray for God to get us through or out of the current difficulty. These trails can also present themselves in the form of longing for something that we don’t have yet.

I knew a couple who prayed for sixteen years for a child and then they finally became pregnant.

I know of a woman who prayed for a husband for well over twelve years. Finally, God graced her with a wonderful man.

I prayed for my uncle to find salvation for nine years and finally he received Jesus as His Lord.

In all of these situations, God was doing a work of spiritual maturity in the lives of those who prayed and waited.

Whether it is a child, a spouse, freedom from debt, salvation for a loved one, or an illness that needs healing, praying for these over a long period can be a trial in itself. Waiting on God to answer can create doubt as we second guess whether what we are asking for is His will; it can even cause us to lose faith if we are not careful.  Waiting for our prayers to be answered can be exhausting and can cause great anxiety. I believe the reason for our exhaustion and anxiety is due to our lack of focus on the right thing.

James tells us, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).

Sometimes when God does not immediately answer our prayers, He is maturing our faith. He is making our belief in Him stronger; so that we do not lack the ability to lean on His understanding fully. But I’m not convinced that maturity in our faith is the only reason.

The tension is this, if we receive what we ask for too soon, we may forget the Lord and ruin our life. On the other hand, if we have to wait too long for what we are asking God for, we may lose faith, forget the Lord and ruin our life. Being the good Father that He is, God is well aware of this tension. Because He knows the pitfalls we can fall into that we don’t always see, He knows the timing that works best for His children.  The answers to the prayers we ask are more about God developing us than about pleasing us.

Notice what James says, “the testing of your faith produces endurance…endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” What is this maturity that God is doing in our life? What is it that He wants to complete? While faith is one of the things He works on in us, He also develops us in practical ways that equip us for that next stage in our life. Like marriage.

When a man longs for a wife, it can be all that is on his mind. It is like he has tunnel vision and he cannot think of anything else. The problem is when the longing for her supersedes his wish to love God with his all; he unintentionally places a burden on the woman he is seeking. He thinks of her as the one who will meet his need for total satisfaction and happiness. Sadly, she cannot carry this burden. But God can and wants it.

Until this man can fully rely on God for his satisfaction and happiness, he will wait for that woman in his life; especially if he is praying to God for her. God wants more for this man. He wants to equip him to love a woman with a proper devotion, one that serves her not one that serves himself. Only God can be this man’s all in all. Until this maturity is complete, I believe that God will delay the answer to his prayer.

In the meantime, the man endures. This endurance perfects him for God’s answer. Is it easy to wait? No. However, if this man understands the purpose behind the waiting, he will seek maturity more than a wife.

Whatever the scenario is in our life, the maturity process is the priority on God’s agenda. When we can get on board with God’s purpose to complete and perfect us, then and only then will we see answers to our prayers.

How do we know when we have reached that maturity? It’s not the answer to the prayer that tells us this. It’s when our wish for what we are praying for dims in comparison to our desire to please God.  Jesus needs to be more to us and not what we are longing for in our life.

 

 

The Cry of Your Spouse’s Heart


Nothing breaks my heart more than to see two people who were once married and in love, now treat each other with such disgrace and hatred. It saddens me every time I see a couple lose their love for each other and separate. Why does this cause such a heartache for me? It’s because my husband and I could have gone down this same path if we didn’t learn to do things differently in our marriage.

I believe that if a couple truly understood the cries of each other’s heart and what to do in its response, they just might move from being in love once to feeling loved forever.

As male and female, we can often misunderstand each other’s needs. We are so different. We can misinterpret the other’s need by defining it by our love language. In other words, we think the other should feel loved by the way we feel loved. This is not always the case. Because we are different, we have to intentionally study and learn about our spouse. A couple that wants to make their marriage work will seek to understand their spouse’s love needs.

“What can I do to make my spouse feel loved and treasured by me?” should be the question on our heart.

Unfortunately, the question most asked by people is “What can this person do to meet my need for love?”

My husband and I have been married for over 30 years. The first 13-15 years of our marriage, we asked the second of the two questions above. It wasn’t until a tragedy happened in our marriage that we were forced to face our pride and misunderstanding of what true love meant. I praise God for this tragedy as it righted our focus and caused us to love each other in a way that Christ loves us. (Becoming one is not an easy process!)

From our experience, we learned to treat each other differently. We learned to love in a way that met the needs of the other person. This change in focus and approach has made the utmost difference in our relationship. 

I praise God that He taught us this! And that we listened and obeyed!

I have listed out the cries each woman and man have below when it comes to relating to their spouse; take a look and see if there is anything that you can glean and use today to love your spouse that is best suited for them.

A Wife’s Cry to Her Husband

To love me is to know me.
To value me is to understand me.
To friend me is to join me.
To make-love to me is to relate to me.
To help me is to walk with me.
To talk to me is to listen to me.
To accept me is to encourage me.
To bear with me is to forgive me.
To lead me is to teach me.
To be one with me is to grow with me.

A Husband’s Cry to His Wife

To love me is to honor me.
To value me is to inspire me.
To play with me is to friend me.
To make love to me is to strengthen me.
To assist me is to help me.
To cheer me is to talk to me.
To reassure me is to accept me.
To forgive me is to receive me.
To follow me is to defer to me.
To be one with me is to trust me.

These cries are just a sample of what a husband and wife need. I’m sure there are more. But even more than the cries on our hearts, it’s important to forgive as God forgives, to love as Jesus loves, and to empower as the Spirit empowers. Be the reflection of Jesus to your spouse and you will move from being in love to feeling loved forever.

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive.”
Colossians 3:12-13
“For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.” Romans 12:3
“None of you should look out just for your own good. You should also look out for the good of others.” Philippians 2:4
“A husband also must love his wife. He must love her just as he loves himself. And a wife must respect her husband.”
Ephesians 5:33

Bowling with the Devil


“The world is the devil’s bowling alley, and we are the pins.  The devil takes particular delight in knocking down Christians.  He tries to topple us with systems of temptation, adversity, and persecution – and to give the devil his due; he’s an excellent bowler.  But what Satan hates most is when he has bowled his best and a few stubborn pins just won’t fall.”

(unknown author)

The enemy is always attacking us. He stands at the door doing his thing: accusing us. He wants us to feel unloved, unwanted and unworthy. He tempts us to isolate ourselves and tricks us to believe that it’s just independence. He uses this isolation to taunt us with his schemes of deception and despair.

This is the Devil’s way. It’s how he plays his game.

The question poses, “How do we become that stubborn pin?”

In all of Satan’s deceptive ways, we can be grateful that we are not left alone to be overcome by him. We have Jesus! We have the most powerful God on our side. We have even more.

God loves us so much that He gave us the church. The church is not a building, its people. God knew that there would be times in our life when the devil might win; when he would lay flat the pin. He would lie to us, and we would believe him. God knew we needed others in our life to speak truth – to encourage – to strengthen – to help us. He knew our desperate need for relationships.  He knew we could not do life alone and triumph against this dark evil enemy.

Even God said about Adam who lived in the perfect garden, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his complement” (Genesis 2:18). Yes, this was directed to a relationship between a man and woman, husband and wife, but the truth remains:

People need good-willed godly people in their life.

We battle every day – we battle between good and evil, temptation and right living, hating and loving, hoarding and giving, and the list goes on.  The battle can deplete our energy, and cause us great stress and anxiety. We lose this battle every time we choose to go this life alone. But when we choose to live it with others, we win.

Moses learned the strength of others who supported him, those who encouraged him and shared his burden. The Amalekites challenged the Israelites. They wrangled and fought. They did what they could to defeat God’s people. But Moses knew what to do. While Joshua led the Israelites to battle against their enemy, Moses stood on the hilltop with God’s staff in his hands and held it high.

While Moses’ hands were held high, God’s people prevailed.  They found supernatural strength in Moses’ prayers to God.

But then human imperfection interfered. The arms of Moses got tired. When he dropped his hands, the Israelites began to lose and suffer loss.

Aaron and Hur, Moses’s top leaders, saw his weakness; they could have watched the weakness of Moses and said,“Just give it up, the battle is too hard.” They could have even run for their lives! Instead, they sat Moses on a stone so he could rest. Then Aaron and Hur supported Moses hands, one on one side and one on the other. Together, the three of them held Moses’ hands up. And Joshua and the Israelites defeated the enemy. They won! They conquered their enemy! When all was said and done, Moses built an altar and named it, “The Lord is My Banner” (Exodus 17:8-15 paraphrased).

Who did God use to be His Banner? He used two faithful, brave men who stepped into the trouble. With Moses, they became the chord of three strands not easily broken. The wisdom of Solomon still speaks, “Two people are better than one. They can help each other in everything they do” (Ecclesiastes 4:9).

Are you doing life alone? Do you feel defeated? How about overcome? Are you in a rut?

You need people – good-willed, godly people to rally around you. Don’t let the lie of independence and the busy life hold you captive to the enemy’s game. Be free! Be with others! Find that supernatural strength that can only come from the support of many.

Go bowling, but be stubborn.

Let the other pins be your support as you all stand firm in the power of God.

 

 

 

When a Marriage Loses Its Intimacy


Intimacy in marriage is often thought of in terms of sexual relations between a husband and wife. While this may be true, I believe that intimacy is much deeper than this. Sexual relations are the result of a deep intimacy of the spirit, heart and soul that the two share.

Intimacy is a history that is created over time. It really knows the other person; it is one of the deepest levels of relationship that two people can experience on earth. That knowing is evident when one understands the other’s thoughts and mannerisms.  A husband and wife closely connected can be in a room, understand each other’s likes, dislikes, comforts, discomforts, needs, wants, and the like without a word spoken or a need requested. This type of connection grows over time; this is why when a separation plays a role, it is so painful.

Abandonment. Adultery. Divorce. Illness. Death.

All of these create a severing within that intimacy. It is so unbearable; it is like an amputation of the flesh. The hearts of the two rip apart and create an open wound that seems unrepairable at the time of parting.

In abandonment, adultery, and divorce – a trust is broken.

A trust that at one point the two thought would be forever. They both had opened their hearts completely to each other. An unveiling of strengths, faults, secrets, dreams and hopes were shared openly. They looked to each other for encouragement and support that would further who they were together. To repair this brokenness is hard. In some cases, it can be repaired, but in many, it breaks forever.

In illness, the relationship turns to dependent care.  

When illness comes to this union, there is still trust. The intimacy is still strong, maybe even stronger as the time and attention required is heightened.  A refocus surfaces: What is really important? The relationship between the two can be reinforced and empowered by a stronger closeness. Yet, there is a separation that occurs. In this divide, there is a pain to embrace. Let me explain.

A few years back my husband was on his death bed with acute pancreatitis. Even though the doctors were fighting for his life, they were also preparing me for his imminent death. While in ICU, my husband needed care in between the times the nurses cared for him. I would assume the role of the nurse and would help him with the most private and personal needs.

On his end, there was a bearing of total trust in my care. But on my part, there was a severing, a parting, and a separation from the strength that I had grown accustomed to in our marriage. He was weak. He was vulnerable. He was not able to comfort me. He was dependent. This was not something I knew from him. To see him so ill was very painful. To realize that this could all end in death was scary. But yet I don’t want to neglect the pain that also occurred in me: Not having his strong arms around me and he reassuring me, “babe, you will be okay, I’m going to take care of you” was selfishly heart wrenching.  On that day, my strong horse of a husband was a weak fragile foal.

In death, the pain of severance leaves the one left behind empty.

I cannot claim to know this as my husband did miraculously survive and heal from his illness. The comfort of his strong arms and the words of great reassurance have been restored to me. However, I have seen those who have lost their spouse; some way too early and others after a long well-lived life together. The knowledge of never having their spouse’s consolation, support, physical presence and visible connection has to be the most painful of all these that I have described – especially when this relationship was so intimate and strong.

You are probably wondering why I am writing this blog. You see I have been praying for three women and their spouse over this last year:

One who is going through a current separation and most likely divorce; another whose husband passed away after a battle with cancer; and another whose husband survived a miraculous healing after facing that very viable reality of possible death. I cannot quite describe in words the pain I feel in my heart for each one.

All three women in these relationships are and have experienced great anguish. For a separation of sorts has been their experience. While different in each case and more severe in some, their pain equally is still as heart-rending.

I was reading Matthew 3 the other day and came across the latter part of verse 11. It says, “He Himself (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The “and fire” stood out to me. Every spiritual growth spurt we experience in our walk with the Lord requires the move the Holy Spirit in our life. It also requires the refinement of fire – the testings of life – the sufferings of trials.

I have often thought that I would like to skip that second part. Can I get an amen? 

On the other hand, I know full well that these trials burn away the chaff of our previous simplified faith and renew a stronger more intimate trust in our Lord; they also remove any dependence on things we may have developed that are not of Him.

Yet these two are not the only things that happen.

There is one more that I think is probably the most important. It’s the one thing that actually kept me going when I was waiting on my husband’s healing. It’s the one thing that would have even given me great courage to carry on if indeed I had lost him in that season.

Some of you may not know who Elizabeth Elliott is. She was the wife of Jim Elliott; in 1956, her husband was one of four missionaries in Ecuador, who was killed maliciously by a dangerous and uncivilized Indian tribe known then as the Aucas. She lost her husband to brutality. She lost her faithful God-fearing husband while serving the Lord. She lost her companion in life and in ministry. Yet, her perspective on this situation is what gives us hope in our time of separation and sorrow.

She had the same perspective as Paul in Philippians 1:12, “what has happened to me has actually resulted in the advance of the gospel.” Elizabeth walked through the door to this lost tribe – the door that the death of her husband opened. She went to them, shared the gospel and she lived among them. This tribe found salvation in Jesus. And now a group of once lost people know Jesus and are living and sharing His good news to others. She honored her husband’s mission; in many ways, I think this kept her husband’s companionship alive in her life.

While my husband, Dan, suffered in the hospital, I had ample opportunities to share the gospel with others who were suffering, who were lost, and even those who needed to come back to Jesus. All of his sufferings proved the truth of Paul’s words, “what has happened to me has actually resulted in the advance of the gospel.”

I have seen a renewed faith in, dependence on the Lord in my friend who is suffering separation and possible divorce. This will end with her spreading the good news of our Lord; for the Lord will use all of her suffering to bring others who are hurting to Him.

I’m a believer!

I have seen an even greater opportunity for others to know the saving grace of our Lord through the death of this one woman’s husband; even in his death his message of the gospel still speaks to all; she continues to honor her husband’s desire; she still shares the love of Jesus with others regardless of her pain.

I’m amazed!

I have seen an increased faith of my friend whose husband was miraculously healed. She relentlessly thanked God for her husband’s healing even when her husband seemed too sick to heal. She shared the word of God boldly so that whoever was reading and hearing would know the power of our great God!

I’m overwhelmed!

These three women are amazing to me! They have learned and grown in faith; they have found value in the baptism of fire. While a physical separation of intimacy has occurred in each one’s life, some forever, others for a time, God has used and still uses it all to increase faith and open doors for others to the good news of Jesus, our Lord, and Savior.

Suffering used well is a sufferer’s useful tool.

Thank you, ladies, for changing me and for using your pain to further faith in others.

 

Become a Healing Balm in the Midst of Your Marital Battle


Twisting scripture is an easy thing to do if you’ve been a Christian for some time. If you have attended church and listened to countless sermons on certain passages, you might be tempted to think you know a passage so well that you don’t really need to read it again. The danger in this approach to scripture is that over time you will misinterpret the passage and you will miss the beauty of that passage’s real intention for your life.

One such passage that I have seen misused over and over is Matthew 7:1 -5. This is especially so when two people are in disagreement or in conflict. Let’s take a marriage conflict as our example. Two heated people are pointing out each other’s wrongs. With anger and self-righteous attitudes flying, they accuse each other imperfectly.

One might say, “You dare to look at my speck when you can’t even see the log in your own eye!”

The other retorts, “What log? You need to take a look at the boulder in your eye before I do anything!”

On and on they go never resolving the issue; they just keep heaping more specks and logs into the relationship.

The conflict becomes a war zone…each partner is ready for combat…both armed to annihilate.   

I have also seen in some cases where one spouse will point out the sins of another; and their response is, “Jesus said, ‘Do not judge!’” This only excuses the sin and keeps the concerned party silent.

No resolution is ever made in this scenario.

Are these the purposes in Matthew 7:1-5 that Jesus hoped for?

Does Jesus enjoy the merry-go-round marriage, the excuses for sin, and the silencing of concerned parties?

What did Jesus really mean?

Looking at this passage, section by section, we can see something quite different than what we may have assumed it to say.

Section One: (Verses 1-2)

 “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.  For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  If we judge another without a humble look at ourselves, we only welcome the other party’s unrighteous judgement of us. In other words, we create a series of incorrect charges. Nothing is resolved. We just go around and around the merry-go-round. A solution is not the goal anymore; it’s who can spin the merry-go-round faster.

Understanding that we have our own faults can help us learn how to resolve a conflict with grace and humility. While our sins may not be the same, it’s good to understand that no one is sinless. In any conflict, both parties play a part. No one is without their own failings.

During my young married years, the arguments we had were unfair and without mercy. I judged my husband without humility; he did the same to me. Now judging in itself was not wrong; for sin is sin. However, it was our approach and an inflated view of our own self that was the problem.

Just because I am a Christian and didn’t commit some of the same sins that my husband did does not mean I didn’t have my own sin to resolve.  My comparison should not have been measured by my husband’s; it should have been measured by Jesus’ sinless character. As I mentioned earlier none of us are without our own failings. Paul says it well, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Jesus is not telling us not to judge; instead He is saying to do it with the right attitude and with a proper understanding of ourselves. We see this more clearly in the next section of this passage.

Section Two: (verse 3-4)

“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye?”   We need to judge righteously. One way to do that is to look at our own log first. This does not mean to ignore the other party’s speck. After all, Jesus did say in John 7:24, “…make a right judgment.” He also emphasized in this verse to “stop judging according to outward appearances.”

To ignore our log is to judge only by what we want to see. In marriage we may look at our spouse’s behavior, and not look at the cause of it. We see their sin and think, “I wouldn’t have done that” vs. considering how we may have aroused their sin or where have we been wrong in this situation.  We look at how they have harmed us instead of how we may have harmed them; we ignore our part in the conflict and just look at theirs. These judge by mere appearances…again only by what we want to see.

When we are angry, this is so easy to do! 

It’s time to cool off and really look at what Jesus’ process to resolve conflict in Matthew 7:1-5 actually is – it’s a process of right judgement; it’s not a command not to judge. He has said to first look at where we are wrong. Look at our failings in the conflict. Take a good humble look at how we have caused the problem. Once we can take this honest look at ourselves, then we can do what Jesus says to do in our next section.

Section Three (verse 5)

As you “…First take the log out of your eye…then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Notice what Jesus doesn’t say. He does not say in this verse, “First take the log out of your eye and never correct your brother’s speck.” No, He says to first consider your own sin.  Compare yourself to Jesus and His righteous judgement and then you are able, with clarity, to help your brother be free from their own failings.

It’s amazing how this process quenches the original fire that starts. Humility drops our weapons and keeps the conflict from turning into a war zone.

Mercy attained. Compassion regained.

Differences are dealt with according to God’s definition of love…it does not keep a record of wrongs…it seeks truth…it hopes…it does not act improperly…it is patient…it is not selfish…

With this approach and process that Jesus has given us when it comes to judgement, we can then be truly helpful to the one we are in disagreement. Without this humble approach, we are not helpful, we are damaging.

On the other hand, with meekness of heart, we become honey to the relationship…a soothing balm in the midst of battle. While we may have  begun ready to fight, we can end in the arms of our love.

Peace is restored, the devil is leveled, and Jesus’ purposes are exalted.

Jesus’ Message to the Wounded Wife


Being in ministry to families, I have often had the privilege to counsel couples in their marriage. It is not an easy privilege mind you, but it’s been a blessing to help couples heal and move past their past and find hope for their marriage in their present and for their future.

What qualifies me to counsel others? It’s not a counseling degree. It’s not a professional license. It’s marriage. It is 30 years of marriage. It is understanding the ups, the downs, the hardships and the blessings of two people becoming one in the Lord. This process of oneness is a difficult one. Yet, when a marriage between two people can cross over to that place of unity, the blessings are more than words can describe. The best word I can come up with is – harmony.

In most of my counseling experience, I have seen marriages find this harmony, but in some cases there are those where scars run too deep; they have a hard time getting past them, therefore, they continue to destroy the marriage leaving gaping wounds. While one may want to heal and move toward restoration and reconciliation, the other would rather continue in the darkness of despair. It’s almost as if they have lived in that state so long they are afraid to come out. It has become strangely comfortable for them. The sadness in all is the one partner who wants healing is forced to endure the hardship of the other’s inability to move past their past to a place of peace.

It’s for the one partner left in the darkness and wanting to come out into the light that I write this blog. In some cases, this one left in the darkness is the husband and in other cases, it’s the wife. It is for the woman, the wife, that I write this blog. Yet, husbands, if you are the one in this place of holding, please just change the gender and find hope.

There are many things in this world that leave me speechless and overwhelmed with great heartache. One of those is seeing a wife who has been wounded in spirit by her husband.

At one point her husband had promised her protection, guidance, safety, forever love and faithfulness. So, she opened the most sensitive part of herself to him – her heart of trust. But then, as time went on all of this changed. His promises break, and he chooses to replace them with condemnation, attacks, oppression, and aggression.

He hurts her with his words. His eyes are filled with hatred for the woman he once called “His love.” He rejects what is most valuable only to embrace what is wicked and filthy. He is a man who once enjoyed the favor and strength of the Lord, yet now, he only knows God’s wrath, discipline, and judgment.

It’s as if he changed into a completely different person.

“Who is this man,” the woman asks.

Instead of facing his sin and dealing with his part in the brokenness, like a frenzied animal, he chooses to blame her for his failings. Accepting no responsibility because of the painful reality of it all, he chooses to ignore it by heaping more coal on his wife’s spirit. Creating more wounds, more gaping offenses and putting a wedge so large between them, the marriage seems impossible to repair.

How blind and corrupt he has become!

Jesus sits beside the woman who’s disgraced, rejected, and abandoned. He puts His arm around her; He comforts her with his warmth; He refreshes her with His love. He says,

Woman, Your husband is your Maker – His name is Yahweh of Hosts – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer. He is called the God of all the earth.

For the Lord has called you, dear woman; you are a wife deserted, wounded in spirit and rejected. While deserted for a brief moment, I will take you back with great compassion. I will have compassion on you with an everlasting love. I have sworn I will not be angry with you or rebuke you.

Though the mountains move and hills shake; though all in your life seems to be crumbling down; My love will not be removed from You and My covenant of peace will not be shaken.

Though you fear for your children, know this, all of them will be taught by Me, your Lord, and their prosperity will be great.

If anyone attacks you, understand that it is not from Me. No weapon formed against you will succeed; you will refute any accusation raised against you in court.

You are my beloved; your heritage is founded upon my promises to you. You are the Lord’s servant and your righteousness is from Me.” (A rendition of Isaiah 54).

To the woman who is in the holding cell of your current marriage state, I urge you to focus on who you are in Christ. It’s the safest most peaceful place you can plant yourself.

Jesus is our horn of salvation. He is our strength. Our very good and great Lover!

It’s tempting to fear while in this holding place. It’s also just a tempting to react in anger. Neither brings about the righteousness of God in our own hearts or in our marriage.

The presence of fear is the absence of faith.

The presence of unrighteous anger is the absence of godly love.

God’s pleasure is found in our faith and in our love. For these never pass away in His kingdom. And it is His kingdom and heaven’s atmosphere that we want to bring down to earth.

So what do you do when your husband seems unattractive to you and you seem unattractive to him? Seek to attract the Lord instead. He is your Maker. He is your Husband. He is your ultimate pleasure in life. Attract Him with your faith in Him and your love for Him. For these two give off a sweet aroma of hope and courage. Not only will you attract the Lord, others will find great strength from that which you emit from your presence. Don’t let the voice of fear and the emotion of anger rob you of God’s pleasure in you.