Marriage

Standing for God’s Glory

Suffering while standing for the cause of oneness and reconciliation is a heavy burden to bear. The emotional toll taken on those willingly turning the other cheek and extending grace in the face of constant rejection, ridicule and hostility inevitably results in a painful existence where moments of peace and happiness are few and far between. When thinking about our own suffering and the challenges faced on a near daily basis, one should consider the role of suffering as it fits into God’s plan, and how this is ultimately used to bring glory to the Lord and to His kingdom.

A perfect example of someone who suffered greatly in life for the express purpose of God being glorified comes from a familiar passage in Scripture. In John 9, we read the story of Jesus healing the man born blind. Before Jesus performs His miracle, the disciples asked Him why the man was in that condition. They wrongly assumed it was a direct result of something either the man or his parents did. Jesus’ response was shocking.

It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

john 9:3

You may be wondering why you are continually suffering for the sake of a spouse who has checked out or expressed a desire to completely leave you and your marriage. If you find yourself in this position, it’s possible your stand and time remaining faithful to an unfaithful spouse has been going on for years. But consider the man Jesus healed. His entire life up to that point had been defined by suffering, hardship and a longing to be made whole. His blindness was placed upon him for one reason; the glorification of God Himself. One might ask if it was fair this man had to endure a life of suffering so at that very moment Jesus could be given glory. You may be asking the same thing about your stand, but keep in mind this man was singled out and chosen by God for the express purpose of growing His kingdom. Many who witnessed this miracle were amazed by God’s power and believed in Jesus from that point on. Long after the healed man passed from this life into the next, his story and the role he played in God’s plan to glorify himself lives on and is a testimony of Christ’s enduring compassion, mercy and power to transform and heal.

When you are faithfully standing for your marriage and honoring the vows made on your wedding day, you are honoring the Lord. The testimony of the power living within that has sustained you up to this point is a witness to the One making it all possible. It may be difficult to understand the why’s and how’s of this tribulation you are going through, but when you examine it in the context of Christ’s glorification, the picture becomes much clearer.

Dear friends, we understand the suffering you face is very real and the normalcy of everyday struggles and challenges taking place right now would likely not be missed if God was to suddenly remove them. But during this season in the valley, ask the Lord to help you better understand why it is you are going through what you are. When others around you witness your stand and commitment in the face of strong adversity, they can’t help at some point to be amazed at the displayed level of dedication as they wonder where it came from. When this occurs, don’t hesitate for one moment to reveal the source. And think of the reactions that will occur when restoration finally happens. God’s glory will be magnified exponentially! Until that time, remain faithful to the Word of God and purpose in your heart and mind to stand for Him and for His glory alone.

In Christ,
Tommy Larson

Divorce, Healing and Reconciliation, Marriage

The Hope of the Cross

The twelve disciples were taught by the greatest teacher and leader who walked the earth. When Jesus called them to drop everything and set out on mission with Him, I’m not sure they knew just how extraordinary of an adventure it would be. It was met with miracles, healings and teachings that defied logic. They knew Jesus was the Son of God, and were witnesses to the mighty power He possessed. Yet, in the end, Matthew 26:56 tells us the disciples left Him and fled. Peter with deep aggravation and profane cursing denied Christ three times and Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Jesus personally suffered through a tremendous amount of pain and experienced devastating grief. The betrayal by those He walked with side by side and was closest to was no surprise to Him. And, this is where we see the beauty of Christ’s character. Jesus knew they would turn their backs on Him, but still chose to devote His life to teaching them and poured out His love into their lives daily.

But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples left him and fled. Matthew‬ ‭26:56‬ ‭

Dear friend, in your marriage circumstances, you may be suffering from an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. This Easter, take time to reflect on the hope of the Cross and the ultimate demonstration of restoration the world has ever known.

In Christ,
Amy Larson

Marriage, Suffering

Suffering for Christ

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Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3–5

For standers (those seeking marriage restoration), one of the most difficult things to deal with and work through is the pain inflicted upon us by those taken captive by the enemy. Our spouse’s hurtful words and actions born out of anger, bitterness, and resentment have the power to put us in precarious and vulnerable emotional and mental states. Compounding the problem is the fact that while enduring the pain, we are filled with disbelief and confusion, as we attempt to reconcile how someone with whom we are joined in a marriage covenant can openly attack and wish us harm.

Leading up to our divorce, there were times I looked into Amy’s eyes and didn’t recognize her. It was a though the woman I married had been replaced by someone I had never known. My words of love and sacrificial acts of service were often laughed at, ignored and in some cases, openly mocked. I can’t express how painful this was. Those fighting for their marriage and dealing with a spouse hell bent on breaking their covenant, can attest to how vicious and cruel these same words and deeds can be. However, when you consider our prodigal spouses are willingly pursuing what God hates, we shouldn’t be surprised that the manner in which they chase after this evil plan will be marked by callousness, insensitivity, and anger. To put it another way, we should expect to be persecuted for our stand.

So what then are we to make of this? What are we to do when we are wrongfully attacked, accused and threatened? The Scriptures are not silent. In fact, there is much God’s word has to say about suffering; especially suffering for the sake of Christ.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 1 Peter 4:12–14

Throughout my painful stand, the Holy Spirit continued to impress upon my heart to persevere and endure the refining fires I was called to walk through. I was being allowed to suffer so as to cause genuine spiritual growth in my own heart and life. The more I understood this, the more I became aware of the suffering Christ endured on my behalf. The love, mercy and grace poured out upon each of us by God, should instill in us an even deeper commitment and resolve to pursue our spouses in their darkened spiritual condition.

Pastor Tim Keller has said, “Jesus Christ did not suffer so that you would not suffer. He suffered so that when you suffer, you’ll become more like him. The gospel does not promise you better life circumstances; it promises you a better life.” How true these words are!

Your suffering now is for a reason. It is also for a season. You don’t need to know how long you must endure or when the pain will be lessened. Rather, you need to be aware that the Lord seeks to draw you closer and to transform your identity into one that mirrors the sacrificial and loving example Christ Jesus set for us. It is when our own hearts become broken and made humble before the Lord that true and meaningful growth is poised to take root.

Standers, continue to allow the Lord to transform you during this time of fiery trials. Hold fast to His Word and promises. Know that one day, you will be rewarded for your faithfulness and devotion to Him. And as you suffer for the sake of the Gospel, know that Christ shares in your suffering with and alongside you.

In Christ,
Tommy Larson