First off, let me say that if you are currently in an unhappy marriage, I empathize with you. May you experience His grace today. God is the One who came to “heal the brokenhearted” and to “console those who mourn in Zion.” (Isaiah 61) May His consolation be great upon you.
Psalm 123 is a hopeful prayer for mercy and relief. “Unto You I lift up my eyes… so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He has mercy on us.” Fight for the focus, of your eyes to be on Him. I know it’s hard, especially if you have suffered betrayal, abuse, and abandonment.
In his first epistle to Corinth, Paul is responding to some who said there was no resurrection from the dead. He points out that if that is the case, then Christ is not risen, and basically our faith is useless. Here are two summary statements: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (15:19) And, “If the dead do not rise,’Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’” (15:32)
Permit me to make a one word substitution. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all marriages most miserable.
A marriage whose partners have no hope beyond this earthly life, will be restricted by what the resources of this world have to offer. Their only hope will be to consume more and more of what they see around them, while those with a living, future hope, know the deeper reality of, “for tomorrow we transition.”
The Greek word translated “miserable” in the verse above, is “eleeinós.” It is used in one other place in the New Testament.
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev.3:14-20)
A lukewarm church, according to this passage, is marked by: pride, a spurning of refiner’s fire, lack of repentance, and dullness of hearing. One condition of such a church (or person) is that of being “miserable.” Permit me again to make a substitution, and to say that – these are the marks of a lukewarm marriage.
I’ve often said that, with the exception of extreme situations, Every marriage problem is ultimately a God problem. The majority of marriages lacking joy and fulfillment will find their breakthrough when one or both spouses find their individual breakthrough.
Personal revival, especially in the midst of difficulty, is always the remedy, the countermeasure needed, to overcome.
I like these quotes from marriage author Gary Thomas (A Lifelong Love: What If Marriage is About More Than Just Staying Together) :
When the challenge of marriage casts us back upon God, we’re in a good place…our primary human relationship (marriage) makes us dependent on our primary divine relationship every day.
You’ll have far more success and satisfaction in your marriage if you start asking more of God and less of your spouse.
A key element of the marriage covenant is one that will outlive both husband and wife. It’s that future hope of resurrection; here is where our primary expectations need to be invested. This future hope releases an equity and balance into a marriage.
One of my favorite prayers is from Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
This is a canopy of safety for our marriages. The down payment of resurrection power, which I enjoy and celebrate today, along with the hope of it’s exponential increase into my eternity, releases the grace for a deeper yielding of my heart.
Divine empathy is His “perfect knowing” of the battle you are in today. He suffers with you. Contend for that “fellowship of His sufferings.” Keep the door of your heart open to the invitation of Christ. He has a table prepared for you. (Psalm 23:5)