“Now, I see, my most constant mistake, is I don’t know what I love till its gone.”
You’re sitting smack dab in the middle of the hardest thing in your life—your marriage. How do I know? Because I am too and I know how the days can seem dark.
You’re probably not gonna like my answer, but I think I know why being married is so hard. It’s not because women are from Venus and men are from Mars. It’s not because Scripture is old-fashioned and marriage is passe. I don’t even think it’s because modern times are so much more volatile to marriage than previous ages, though they may be.
The reason marriage is so hard is because you’re more sinful than you think you are.
You don’t yet grasp the depths of your own depravity. You want your own way. You think your faults are less offensive than his. You justify yourself in a thousand ways and give yourself every benefit of the doubt. But, his faults and sins are magnified to you. You’re convinced that you give more in the relationship. You are always the hero in your mind. Or maybe it’s just me.
I’ve stayed mad for 3 days because he fails to acknowledge all that I do around here, only to realize that I never once told him thank you for going to work so faithfully all these years—for shouldering the financial responsibility of this gang of kids like a rock. For coming home every single night. For staying when staying seemed so very difficult. Never complaining. Never asking to win an award or be noticed. Just steady and sure and strong.
You are not yet what you ought to be and so God has been gracious to place you in this very relationship, because He means to sanctify you and bring you to repentance. This relationship is hard because it’s life and death. What you do here means everything. And you can grumble about the myriad of things that are wrong in this union or you can start to see it how God sees it—as a sacred picture of what He is doing to redeem the world. Christ is the bridegroom and we are the bride. And we will finally be lovely because He has so loved us, not the other way around.
God knew what He was doing when He gave you this particular person. He knew the flaws in your character and personality that this person could sharpen. He knew that this person could expose the sins you try to cover and hide. He knows better than you what you need and the sooner you submit to Christ and His purposes in your life, the sooner you will see what He is up to in your marriage. This relationship is not for your happiness, it is for your redemption. He is not trying to make your comfortable, He is desperate to make you holy.
He will go to any lengths to transform you because He loves you so much.
So, what about all his sins, you say? Oh, I know. He is not what he should be either. He has been a failure at being Christ for you. He is selfish and unkind. He’s been untrue and weak and childish. He doesn’t cherish you the way he should. His love has so seldom been sacrificial.
That’s why I’m so glad that we begin every Sunday morning service with confession and absolution. We stand shoulder to shoulder, he and I, and say what has been so hard to say all week long. And we say it together.
“Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart and we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.”
I stand there holding the weight of the world—my most grievous sins always against the ones with which I share the pew. I barely make it through those words most weeks because I know what I am and I know how I fail. This is not some “generic” neighbor I’ve sinned against. And his have torn me apart too. We are faltering and crumbling every day, until these beautiful words restore what we keep trying to tear down.
“Almighty God in His mercy has given His Son to die for you, and for His sake, forgives you all your sins.”
God doesn’t overlook what you done. He sees it all and yet calls you forgiven and redeemed. Every week—this gift, of restoration, healing and grace, that astounds us and brings such peace. Words that He paid dearly to speak to us. Words that have power to do what they say. Words that reach back into the mess we’ve made of so many strings of days.
In the briefest of moments, I glimpse eternity. I see that this day is not just another block of 24 hours, but a day that always has been and always will be. Maybe, a day marred by my tired rebellion and refusal to give up my ground. Or just maybe, a day staked with my broken confession and the Blessed Absolution that comes from knowing He has redeemed every single hour for His glory. This day will come and go and then DAY will be gone. Eternity is breaking through, shouting from beyond—that all this matters and that in the end, only Love will be left standing, as He holds us both in His glorious Light, darkness falling away around us like a dream.
Press play to listen to Day is Gone by Noah Gundersen
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