Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
Every new year brings with it a sense of fresh starts, renewed commitments and strengthened resolve. Depending on who you are listening to, the target of these resolutions may tend to focus on the external. Whether it’s shedding a few pounds, reading more, learning a new skill, or simply stepping out of our comfort zones and trying something new, the arrival of January 1st marks the point when many will begin their new journey. Unfortunately, this is also a time when many marriages hanging on by a thread get pushed to their limits and one or both parties decide it’s time to call it quits.
Making it through the holidays is challenging enough on its own. Normal holiday stressors, along with knowing what your spouse may be planning for the new year and doing everything within your power to prevent it from coming to pass, puts us in situations that are extremely challenging and difficult. Reflecting back, I remember the first Christmas apart from my wife saw me spend considerable time praying God would do a work in her heart and that the new year would bring healing and reconciliation. Surprisingly, there were more than a couple moments during the holiday season I actually sensed this may have been coming to pass. But unfortunately, those moments were short lived. Despite seeing what appeared to be real signs of promise in both word and deed, my prodigal eventually returned to the flesh and continued to willingly travel the road that led to destruction. Cleary, God had more work to do.
For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.Matthew 7:12 ESV
Now more than ever, the question we need to ask ourselves is if we are truly committed to standing for our marriage despite what we may see or know is coming over the horizon. An ungodly worldview void of biblical and eternal perspectives will tell you happiness and fulfillment is within your reach if you just let go of the past and move forward. We are told some marriages just don’t work out, and it’s better to leave an unhappy marriage, than to stay in a relationship where your emotional needs aren’t being met. Of course, this type of advice sounds great to the person who is hurting and has perhaps endured years of mistreatment and neglect. After all, don’t we all deserve to be happy and to not have to live in an environment where we find ourselves anxious, on edge, and unfulfilled? Biblically speaking, the answer is, no. In truth, what each of us deserves is an eternity in hell. Fortunately for us, because of the Father’s mercy and grace, we are promised an eternity with Him in glory, if we put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let this truth sink in and penetrate your soul the next time your heart turns and begins to long for what friends, family and those without a godly perspective say you deserve.
If you are in this stand for the long haul, let this new year mark the starting point for a renewed and strengthened resolve that will reject worldly counsel, and instead cling to the cross of Christ and his promise of hope and fulfillment. Your prodigal needs you now more than ever. It could very well be that God has the enemy on the ropes. Do you have the endurance required to finish the fight and end the battle? Are you going to give up on your spouse, your children and perhaps future generations because you are tired and weary? Purpose now to stand strong and believe in your heart that God is not done with you or your marriage. 2020 could very well be the year God has ordained for restoration to occur!