Back in July, I started a series called “Encouragement Through Adversity”. I was able to get part 1 posted a day or two before Tiffani was asked to help lead an online study of Nina Roesner’s 40-day “Respect Dare.” So as not to interfere with the 40 consecutive posts that Tiffani needed to work out for the study, I opted to put this series on hold until the 40 days were past. So here we are ready to attempt to get back into this series.
To review just a little bit from the original post, I asked for the help of friends, family & other marriage bloggers, posing the following question to each one:
Think of a time when you & your spouse went through some marital trial (whatever it may have been), and the Lord restored your marriage, your heart for your spouse, and/or your commitment to each other. Now here’s a hypothetical scenario… Let’s pretend one of your friends is going through a very similar trial. What we want to know is this – what ONE passage of scripture would you encourage them to read, and WHY? How did this particular passage of God’s Word help you in your trial?
Following are three of the responses I received from people just like you. Some of my responders have chosen to remain anonymous, and some have opted to share their names. If the bloggers choose to share their blog names, I would encourage you to visit their blogs! I pray their stories are encouraging to you!
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16b)
In the first year or so of our marriage, my husband was a crack-cocaine addict. He was arrested multiple times for drugs and larceny (shoplifting). All of our money went to feed his addiction. There were many dark nights of deceit, betrayal, uncertainty and what seemed to be hopelessness. God must have been carrying me though, because I had a strength inside of me that was not my own. Everyone told me I should leave my husband, but I stayed by his side and prayed fervently for him. I truly believe that it was because of those prayers that my husband was set free from his addiction (and is still free 7 years later)!
Our son, our firstborn, was born 12 weeks early, weighing less than two pounds. We spent every evening for 8 weeks at the NICU with him, & you can imagine the difficulties we faced. We really held on to a particular song lyric, “He did not bring us out this far to take us back again…” It is based on “But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors.” (Deuteronomy 6:23 NIV) We believed that God hadn’t brought him this far only to have us lose him so soon. Today, our 14-year-old is a bright and talented and Godly young man that He continues to use and bless.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. – James 3:14-16
I can’t think of anything more selfish to do to your spouse or your marriage than to have an affair. And of course, as this verse, tells us, everything thing that is born out of selfish ambition and envy brings disorder and evil things. At its crux affairs have their base in envy and selfishness. We see something that we think someone else has that we want and we choose to take what we want with no regard to how it will affect those closest to us. It never ends well. Never. It always ends in disorder and chaos. This verse didn’t necessarily bring me comfort when I found out about my husband’s affairs but I remember reading it in a different light after finding out. It brought a sense of clarity. Like I had a life experience that I could use that fit right in to what God was trying to tell us. And we can speak from experience on this. This verse is important because it is a great reminder that God’s way is better than ours. That anything that takes first place in our heart over God doesn’t belong. That anything that requires selfish behavior from us isn’t healthy. That anything that has us seeing others and their situations and trying to get what they appear to have isn’t based in reality.
Clint & Alecia Starks