Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy or Holy

In my never-ending quest to understand marriage and God's design for it, I toss out the following for discussion - and I want discussion, please.

Marriage is not designed to make you happy, but to make you holy.
Marriage is all about sacrifice.
Marriage is not 50-50, but each giving 100.
We have no "rights" in this world as God is sovereign.

For me, the second and third are a given, but I am really struggling with the first statement. Well, ok, a bit with the last one, too. In another season, I would have said, "Sure, without a doubt, yeah." But, that season was smooth, easy sailing, along slow-moving waters. And, now, I see other marriages, and a tad of mine too, with turbulent times, tough painful decisions, lack of understanding, and disappointments.

I can maybe believe statement number 1 when I put it under the context of suffering. And, I am not suffering. Not in comparison of others. Suffering can be our time of greatest growth, our time of a closeness to Him, a reliance so incredible that after it is over, we would almost welcome the suffering again if only to experience Him at that level again. I recall a story about a man who lost his wife and child in an automobile accident. It took a very long time for him to recover, obviously. But in the end, his comment was that he almost felt sorry for someone who had not dealt with that level of loss because they would not have felt Him, experienced Him, breathed Him in and had total reliance on Him as he had. Heavy.

In my own life, there was a period of time at the end of Ansley's journey, when I did not walk on my own. I was being carried. It was unlike anything I ever had felt before. I described it as a wind tunnel. I was clinging to the edge, the wind was very strong and forceful and it was from God. Everything that was being thrown at me was just blown away by His breath. I was never terrified or worried because I was surrounded by Him, His Holy Spirit. I long for that again.

I can also believe that statement when I think about our emotions. They are unreliable, ever-changing and fleeting. Feelings change from day to day, but only the word of God remains true. Happiness comes from this world, but joy, ahh, that is a different thing altogether. True lasting joy comes from Him and Him alone. A level that is unobtainable from anything on this world. Therefore, if our focus is on Him, never wavering, does it really matter if we are "unhappy?"

But given the context of humanity and all of its sin, when do we have the "right" to stand-up for ourselves. Is there a clear, biblical line that delineates what man can do to another? I live by the mantra "die to self." Fail daily at it, but still believe it. And I understand that life on this earth is a blink of eye in light of eternity, therefore, does any of it really, really matter? God forgave Israel over and over and over. Being submissive and being a doormat...where is the proverbial line in the sand?

Think about it. Let me know your thoughts. Right underneath this post is the word, "comment." Please use it today. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

A friend wrote to me:
don't you think happiness is relative? It's all in your mind.

My response:
My question to that would be - where is your litmus test for happiness? Is it in comparison to others, is it in your circumstance and how you perceive it? And since it is so fleeting, does it really matter - "happiness"? Just mulling a lot over - these questions are just extensions of the blog post today. I don't have the answers, btw.

Anonymous said...

Ephesians 5:22-28
Colossians 3:18-19

Anonymous said...

Ephesians 5:22-28
22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Colossians 3:18-19
18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.