Growing Up in My Marriage

Growing Up in My Marriage

There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.” Exodus 15:25-26

My wife and I were both in our late twenties by the time we got married, but looking back, I was still profoundly self-centered and immature. I’ve grown up a lot in the last 25 years, but still, in another 25, I’ll probably look back at my 50s, realizing I was still immature. But that’s how relationships are. We don’t start out knowing exactly how we’re supposed to act and most of us aren’t naturally selfless. My wife and I have had to learn, sometimes painfully, how to be good spouses. I’ve had to learn that marriage isn’t just about meeting my needs. If we want a happy marriage, both my wife and I must purposefully meet each other’s needs. We’ve had to learn how to do marriage right.

So too, it is with my faith. In my relationship with God, I sometimes look back and shake my head at my immaturity. I once approached God as a spoiled child approaches Santa Claus. God, take away my craving for drugs with no sacrifice or inconvenience on my part. When God didn’t do exactly as I demanded, I doubted him. Are you even real God? My faith was profoundly immature – Do what I want or I won’t believe in you.

Through my addiction though, God has been teaching me faith and obedience, which means that I must follow his will, at which point I stop self-destructing. In following him, I’ve found the life, joy, and peace that I previously sought. I’ve realized that the reason I floundered previously was that I refused to obey God. He used painful circumstances to teach me that I find peace and joy only when I abandon me to obey him.

This is the same lesson that God taught his people in today’s passage. In the story, as God’s people wandered in the wilderness, God turned bitter water sweet. After, he made this covenant with them – If you follow me, I will provide for you (my paraphrase). God didn’t promise that there would be no trials in life, but he taught them that life would be far better off if they stopped self-destructing by following themselves. Follow me and you will find life, joy, and peace even in the trials.

God promises the same to us. Often, we go to God, demanding that he do things our way. When he doesn’t, we doubt him. God though, often insists that we must first follow him before we see his divine work in our lives. Our way is misery. God’s way is life. Accepting this truth is a giant leap forward in the maturity of our faith.

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