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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

God for Us and our Marriages




A year ago this month (February), we stood in a marriage retreat with our church.

Often, families in ministry don’t sit together in services. Even more often (and not just for people in ministry), husbands and wives don’t sit next to each other because…well, you know…kids. Often, families in ministry have responsibilities before, during, and/or after services, so it’s easy to get distracted or be pulled away just as we draw our focus onto worship.

Let’s be really honest here: An intense love for the Lord doesn’t mean corporate worship time is automatically easy.
So with no children at this retreat and no responsibilities, I enjoyed the chance to stand with my husband in worship. We held hands while we sang. (I felt kinda cute…)

The worship pastor had chosen a new song for the occasion: God With Us, by Jesus Culture, and it took me a few repetitions before I could really listen to the words I was singing.

As we returned to the chorus for perhaps the third time, my mind was drawn toward our hands linked between us, and I began to think about the repeated “us” in the chorus. It could apply to my husband and myself just as much as to the greater church community.

Consider this:

God with us
In the beautiful and the difficult places, He is present. Yes, there’s this:

If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  -Psalm 139:8-10

But what about the near-by places? Have you thought about these as well?
·         In the loan office at the bank
·         In the bathroom, puking
·         In the delivery room
·         In the doctor’s office where we again hear, “Not this month”
·         In bed (yes, there too)
·         On that trans-continental Skype call
·         At the quiet little restaurant where we celebrate our anniversary
·         Through our worst fights

And in a thousand other places, God never fails (Lamentations 3:22), never quits on us, never takes away His grace. This applies not only to me as His child, but to us as an example of His love (Ephesians 5:25-31).

God for us
God is for our marriages! When it feels like everything in our culture is trying to tear us apart or convince us to quit, God is still rooting for beautiful, long-term, covenant marriages.
                                   
Nothing can come against
Our unity makes us stronger than one standing alone. We pull each other up, support each other, and bear burdens together. We cannot be crushed, cannot be swept away. When one is weak, the other is strong. When one cries, the other shouts (Ecclesiastes 4:12, Galatians 6:2).

No one can stand between us

What God has joined together, let no one separate.  -Matthew 19:6 NIV

As long as we hold tight to Him and each other, no earthly entity can separate us, and certainly no created person. God Himself has made us one.

Trying reading Romans 8:38-39 with your name and your husband’s in place of “us.”

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons neither the present nor the future, or any powers, neither height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate [husband’s name] and me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  -Romans 8:38-39 NIV (amended)

If neither of us is separated from the love of God, then neither are we separated from each other. Such strength in His love!

Our marriage retreat weekend was filled with encouragement, fun, and Spirit-led learning, but my biggest take-away revolved around this new song. Our families are the body of Christ just as the larger church community is His body. The New Testament truths about church (e.g. John 17:23, Ephesians 4:1-3, even 1 Corinthians 12, just to name a few) are also true of your family and mine.

Question for Reflection: What Biblical truth about the church would you like to “own” for your marriage?



Has a worship song (or some other seemingly unrelated thing) specifically blessed your marriage? We would love to hear about it in the comments below!




Bio.


Carole Sparks is a Bible study writer who sees God’s hand in the mundane and the magnificent. (That’s her Twitter bio.) After twenty-one years, she still finds nothing mundane about holding hands with her husband and something magnificent in the way they now have the same ideas without even trying. You can also catch up with her on Facebook or her blog.

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