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When my husband and I first got married, we bought a book by Gary Thomas titled Sacred Marriage. The premise of the book is “what if God designed marriage to make us holy more than happy?” A great question indeed.
Our sermon this morning was from Mark 2, where the four men bring their paralytic friend through the roof of a house in which Jesus is teaching. Because it was too crowded, they had to go to desperate measures for the healing of their friend. And yet Jesus takes one look at the crew, sees their faith, and chooses to forgive the paralytic of his sins, not heal his malady.
The pastor emphasized how Jesus cared for the spiritual need first–that which was more important–even though the man expected Him to heal his physical need. He did, eventually, cure the man’s paralysis, but only to emphasize His ability over the spiritual.
We often see marriage and family as physical needs–we need relationship (true). We have a desire to have children. We want love. But I think above all of those needs, we have family to meet our spiritual needs: to teach us truths about Jesus.
If you’ve been married for more than five minutes, you’ve probably had arguments, wanted to leave or hit or throw a temper tantrum. You’ve wanted to hole up and not share how you feel and pretend everything happy. You’ve had great times and crappy times. You’ve endured struggles together and felt closer for it.
If you happen to have a willful toddler like some people I know (ahem), you might find yourself saying things like, “Why do you only want to play with what you can’t have!” “Why won’t you just listen to me?” “Why do you push me away when I just want to cuddle you?”
The marriage relationship mirrors how God wants us to grow in love with Him. In hard times, you will grow closer. You’ll learn to rely on Him. You’ll be able to be mad at Him and yet not turn your back or run away.
The parent-child relationship shows us how God must view us. No sooner do those above phrases slip out of my mouth than I can hear God speaking those same words over me. Why DO I push? Why do I want what He doesn’t want? He is teaching me every day through a little child who makes me both love insanely and cry angrily.
While this is nothing I haven’t heard and I’m sure you’ve heard it before, too, it strikes me differently each time I realize that we have these relationships for a purpose. Will we take the chance to let God mold us and draw us nearer to Him?