Stuck in the mud
A few years ago, I travelled with a few friends to go camping on a property their family had just bought in Mozambique. This untouched piece of land was only accessible by driving for over 100km on a gravel road and then eventually going off “road” by GPS coordinates to get to where we were going. I believe the term “bundu bashing” is appropriate. What an adventure that was, but the adventure started with us getting stuck in the mud on one of the gravel roads on the way there.
So there we were trying to get the wheel of the vehicle out of the mud. It involved a shovel, sticks and stones for traction, sweat, some tears and a rope to help pull us out. We had almost lost hope of getting the vehicle free, but then there was the rope.
A Rope of Hope
Sometimes in our marriage, it feels like we’re stuck in the mud with no hope of getting unstuck. It feels like the more we move, the more we get stuck. The things we try don’t seem to move us forward or closer to each other. We need some external help, someone to throw us a rope of hope.
When God designed marriage, he probably knew all along that we were going to need some external help. He calls us to love each other in ways that are contrary to our selfish tendencies. The good news is that He hasn’t called us to do it alone. We can restore our oneness and allow our relationship with God to be the glue that binds us together.
In some ways, that’s what the concept of Vertical Marriage is all about. We cannot flourish in our marriage relationship if our vertical relationship with our Father God isn’t doing well. It’s being loved by our Creator and filled with the Holy Spirit that empowers us to love each other well.
If you feel stuck in a pattern of isolation in your marriage, take courage that God wants to restore your oneness through Christ…
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” [2 Cor 5:18-19 NIV]
The truth is that God longs to restore oneness in your marriage. Not only in your marriage, but also in your life. He wants to bring you help and hope that enables you to do marriage the way He designed it.
There are four ways God offers hope for our marriage:
1. God pursues us even when we don’t pursue Him
It’s amazing that God didn’t wait for us to call out to Him, but he chose to send us salvation through His son Jesus even when we were still stuck in sin (Eph 2:5). He wants us to know Him and live a life filled with His goodness, grace and purpose.
“God pursues us. He pursues us in our brokenness. He pursues us in our mishaps. Despite our rebellion or resistance, He pursues us to the very end.” – Dana Arcuri
2. God restores our companionship with Him through Jesus
Not only does He restore our relationship with Him, but He also helps us to restore our relationship with one another as mentioned already with the scripture reference earlier in this article.
3. God empowers us with the Holy Spirit
When Jesus ascended into Heaven, he promised to send the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in all truth. When we receive Jesus, we also receive His empowering Holy Spirit who gives us wisdom and guidance in every aspect of life. Cultivating our relationship with Jesus means that we get to become more keenly acquainted to hear His voice and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
4. God encourages us through others who follow Jesus
We do not have to do life and marriage alone. When we are part of the body of Christ, the Church, God uses His followers to encourage us, pray for us and with us, and walk with us through challenging times.
God gives us hope for our lives and our marriage when we join with Him. A cord of three strands is not easy to break…
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. [Eccl 4:12 – NIV]
A two-stranded rope, it’s twice as strong as a single piece, but a three-stranded rope is 10-15 times stronger. If we weave our two strands (husband and wife) with the Maker of marriage(God), our three-stranded rope is set up for success.
You may have been feeling like your marriage got stuck in the mud, but God’s rope of hope for your marriage is an empowering relationship with Him where you learn how to love like the author of love Himself. He desires to restore you and strengthen you to a flourishing life and marriage.
May you be encouraged today, that there is hope for your marriage. If you need to refresh, restart, or replenish your marriage, then perhaps working on your Vertical Marriage is a step in the right direction.
We’ve been going through the journey of marriage as God’s story. Week one was about the Dream of Marriage. Secondly, we discussed the Fall of Marriage. Today we learnt about the Hope of Marriage, and next week we’ll talk about the Mission of Marriage.
This article was originally written for Manna Christian Stores’ community site.