“Are we really being guided as we thought? How do we know we’re on the right track? Is there any such destination as the place we think we’re going to? Here faith simply has to suspend judgment on what God is doing. Faith does not know why, but it knows why it trusts God who knows why. We do not trust God because he guides us; we trust God and then we are guided, which means that we can trust God even when we do not seem to be guided. Faith may be in the dark about guidance, but it is never in the dark about God. What God is doing may be a mystery, but who God is is not.” Os Guinness, God in the Dark: The Assurance of Faith Beyond a Shadow of Doubt, p.176.
“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside.” Job 23:8-11
“Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.” Is. 50:10
2011 at 3:37 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
The first husband and wife, Adam and Eve, had the ideal marriage—for a little while, anyway. But it wasn’t long before sin entered the world (Genesis 3); and almost immediately, the first couple began to have marriage problems. They blamed each other. They argued. They did not love.
Sound familiar? The Fall is a historical event and a present reality in marriage. From that day to now, marriage has been less than ideal, because all marriages for all time have been corrupted by sin.
It is not good.
But the problems in our marriage are bigger than we realize. That’s because the stakes are higher than we think. You see, we don’t just disappoint each other’s expectations, or dash each other’s hopes; we fail to attain God’s glorious ideal of reflecting Christ and His church. And we cannot hope to do so on our own.
But the Bible’s story of marriage doesn’t end here. And neither does yours or mine.
After some delays, we’re back to working on Mom’s beauty book. God has given us much grace and guidance in the past few weeks. And y’all continue to send us very helpful thoughts and questions. Keep ‘em coming! We have another question for you today. And again, if we use your story or comments in our book, you will receive a free autographed copy of the book when it is published. Thanks for your help and prayers!
How has the gospel transformed your perspective and pursuit of beauty? (Specific examples, stories, and Scriptures are most helpful.)
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9-10 ESV)
2011 at 3:26 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Talk about a dramatic opener. The story of marriage in the Bible begins suddenly, unexpectedly. One moment there is a man and animals and a beautiful world and everything is good. And the next moment, God declares: “it is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper fit for him” (Gen. 2:18).
So God created marriage. And it was good. It is good.
Not only is it good, marriage is glorious: a picture of Christ and the church. God created marriage to display His good news, the gospel. Thus Paul’s stunned reaction: “This mystery is profound” (Eph. 5:32).
”[Paul] interprets the original creation of the husband-and-wife union as itself modeled on Christ’s forthcoming union with the church as his ‘body’. Marriage from the beginning of creation was created by God to be a reflection of and patterned after Christ’s relation to the church. Thus Paul’s commands regarding the roles of husbands and wives do not merely reflect the culture of his day but represent God’s ideal for all marriages at all times, as exemplified by the relationship between the bride of Christ (the church) and Christ himself” (ESV Study Bible, emphasis mine).
Did you catch that? Marriage as a picture of the gospel wasn’t an afterthought. It wasn’t a backup plan. It was the purpose for marriage from the beginning. And God’s purpose hasn’t changed. Reflecting the gospel is God’s ideal for all marriages at all times.
2011 at 3:23 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
What do you want from your marriage? What would you change if you could?
No doubt something, or many things, come to mind. In one way or another marriage has probably fallen short of your expectations. But we must consider: where does our definition of “the ideal marriage” come from?
Do we get our cues from the culture and its illusive ideal of a mutually satisfying relationship? Do we compare our marriage to our friends’ marriages, to our everlasting disappointment? Or are we myopically focused on our husband’s weaknesses as the cause of our less than ideal marriage?
We need to ask: What does God want from my marriage? What does He want to change? What is His ideal?
Would it surprise you to know that His goal is not for you and your husband to have a “mutually satisfying relationship”, or to have a marriage that’s as good as or better than your friends, or to finally change that husband of yours?
His goal is far greater than that. His agenda far more glorious, far more satisfying.
What does God’s ideal marriage look like?
The answer begins with a story. A long story. A beautiful story. The story of marriage in the Bible.
As a newlywed, Darlene Deibler Rose served as a missionary in New Guinea with her husband from 1938 to 1942. Then, for four years, she was imprisoned by the Japanese during World War II and endured almost unspeakable hardships, including solitary confinement, near starvation, beatings and loss of her husband, Russell Deibler. Yet in her book, Evidence Not Seen, she wrote:
“Viewing those eight years from this far side, I marvel at the wisdom and love of our God, Who controls the curtains of the stage on which the drama of our lives is played; His hand draws aside the curtains of events only far enough for us to view one sequence at a time. Had those eight years been revealed to me in one panoramic view that misty gray January morning in 1938, would I have had the courage to board the ship? I wonder. Through the intervening years, tempestuous winds of gale force have buffeted me. Waves of tidal proportions have threatened to carry me under or dash me upon the rocks. But knowing now what I did not know those many years ago… I can thank my God for every storm that has wrecked me upon the Rock, Christ Jesus!” (pp.221-222)