The Finished Work of Patience
( Dennis and Barbara Rainey)
James 1:2-Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Dr. Mavis Heatherington works in an organization on the East Coast that helps parents through traumatic experiences in marriages where a child died or was born deformed. According to her studies, 70 percent of such couples separate or divorce within five years. Why does this happen? Many couples simply have no strategy for living beyond romance. They don't have a plan that will hold their relationships together during that desperate period of suffering and pain.
Death and suffering are part of life. Part of the strategy for facing troubles is to realize that God allows difficulties in our lives for many reasons. British writer Malcolm Muggeridge once wrote:
Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything that I have learned in my 75 years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my experience, has been through affliction and not through happiness. In other words, if it were ever to be possible to eliminate affliction from our earthly existence by the means of some drug, or some other medical mumble jumble, the result would not be to make life delectable, but to make it too banal and trivial to be endurable.
Many families can echo this experience. Yet despite all this valuable testimony, many couples seek to deal with trials by turning against one another rather than turning to God together in prayer. When trials come to you and your family, do you process the pain together or fall apart? Will you be able to consider them as "joy"?
Together pray through (not around) a problem,
trial or other issue, asking God to give you patience to allow time to learn
from the experience. Ask God to increase your oneness as a couple.
Discuss: Do you feel prepared to handle
suffering in your
marriage relationship? Why?