I was listening to Amy Grant’s “Better Not to Know” on the way home from church this morning, and it struck me how much more that song means right now than when I first heard it a few years ago. Right now I’m watching Satan have a field day in the lives of people I love, and I’m hating every moment of it. And as Amy sings, it was better not to know that any of this was coming.
Marriage is hard. Being married every day is hard. I know. We’re married to flawed human beings — and we ourselves are flawed human beings. It’s a messy combination, this flawed+flawed. The sum can’t be anything other than….. flawed.
But God ordained marriage for the human race. He meant for each marriage to represent His perfect relationship with His Church. He intended earthly marriage to be more than the combination of two flawed human beings, and only He can make it so through grace, mercy, and forgiveness: three things that we receive in abundance from God and thus should be extending to our spouses over and over again.
At our peril do we forget that God is first and foremost at the head of the marriage. Because if we forget it, we’re stuck depending on just our flawed selves and our flawed spouses. And that’s not enough to get through. Life is too painful, and pain comes from all sides, not just from our spouses. Friends cause pain, co-workers cause pain, parents cause pain, children cause pain, complete strangers cause pain. Worst of all, we cause ourselves pain. Because we’re flawed.
Only by keeping God first are we enabled to look past our flawed spouses and past our flawed selves, because we’re looking at our perfect Lord and Savior instead. The flaws recede into the distance when Christ is the Head. The pain that strikes at us over and over again is mitigated and relegated to a proper perspective when we’re focused on what God would have of us in each and every painful circumstance.
Am I saying that you have to stay married? I’m saying only this: that the only Person on whose advice you should rely is Jesus Himself. Don’t rely on your hurt feelings. Don’t rely on your well-meaning friends. Don’t even rely on your pastor or your counselor. Don’t rely on the technicalities of the legal system. Don’t rely on just a cursory review of Scripture, either. Seek God and His purpose for your life, delving deep into His Word and making prayer the first consideration all day long. He has a purpose for your life and the only way to find joy in the midst of everything else that’s going on is to seek that purpose and His grace. Because then you will also have found the answer.
“These tiny stems became these trees,
With dirt and storms and sun and air to breathe…..
Like you and me.
And some fell down and some grew tall,
And those surviving twenty winter thaws
Have the sweetest fruit of all.” (c) Amy Grant