I’ve been thinking about storms a lot lately. My heart hurts for the people who were devastated by Hurricane Sandy– down here on the Gulf Coast we are used to hurricanes, and every summer it’s a coin toss whether or not we’ll get something from the tropics, but the Northeast had never seen anything like that before!
Hearing about Sandy brought to mind 2008, when Hurricane Ike hit our area and 2005, when Rita tore through our town. We lost over 50 trees in our little 1.3 acres and had a 100-foot pine tree on our roof, plus a few other punctures through the roof. (I’ll do a post about it sometime.)
Then tonight our pastor preached about storms of life. Ugh… We all have had them. We’ll have more. If you’ve been married more than a few weeks, you’ve probably had some degree of a storm in your relationship– maybe just a tropical storm, or maybe a Category 5.
I read Acts 27, Paul’s storm at sea, and got some insights into marital storms.
- In verse 10 Paul warned them that a storm was coming. “Men,” he said, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on–shipwreck, loss of cargo, and danger to our lives as well.”
I’m telling you the same thing. That won’t stop it from coming, but you can prepare. At least you won’t be shocked and think your marriage is over because you will know that ALL marriages go through storms.
- In verses 18 and 38, the sailors threw cargo, even food, overboard. The next day, as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, the crew began throwing the cargo overboard. (v 18) After eating, the crew lightened the ship further by throwing the cargo of wheat overboard. (v 38)
You might lose some things in the storm. You might throw selfishness– or something you’re putting ahead of the needs of your spouse– or your pride– overboard, when you realize that they are endangering your ability to stay afloat.
Your storm might last a long time. Maybe you’re in a storm WITH your spouse; it’s not a problem between you. Maybe caring for a special-needs child, or an aging parent. Maybe one of you is in school and resources are stretched to the breaking point. A chronic difficult situation can seem never-ending and is exhausting. You might go “many days without seeing the sun or stars and give up all hope…” (v 20)
However, Paul assured them that they would live through it. “Take courage! For I trust in God that it will be just as I was told.” (v 25) and “Not even a hair on your heads will be lost.” (v 34) God assures us, that even in situations that look absolutely hopeless, He is able to bring good.
- But read what happened in order for the men to get to shore–they had to crash the boat and jump into the sea. …they saw a bay with a beach and wondered if they could get to shore by running the ship aground. (v 39)
Imagine how scary that looked to them! Don’t you think some wanted to take their chances and keep sailing? Sometimes, especially with a long-term marital problem that has been ignored and never dealt with, bringing it to the surface and confronting it seems more painful than ignoring it. But it’s like a splinter. It starts out as a little sliver, but then the skin gets red and irritated. Infection sets in. Maybe an abscess forms. An unacknowledged problem is still there; it just grows under the surface and gets more and more painful. You MUST deal with the problem if you want your marriage to thrive.
There are countless Scriptures promising help and support– here are some of my favorites.
- Isaiah 43:18-19 Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to the things of old. Look, I am about to do something newl even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make highways [not just a footpath] in the desert, rivers [not just a piddly stream].
- John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, But take heart; I have overcome the world.
- Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
- Isaiah 43: 2 When you pass through the deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through the fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you.
- Joel 2:32 All who call upon the Lord for help will be saved…
- Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
- Psalm 107:28-31 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
I pray you are not in a storm right now, but if you are, grab a life ring and stay afloat. Catch your breath, and rest in the knowledge that it won’t last forever. You’re not alone. We’ve all been there. Brighter days are ahead.