“I gave your husband to you to be a blessing to you,” spoke the Lord to my heart as I strode hurriedly through the Costco parking lot. I was taken aback, not just that God would choose that moment and place to speak to me, but that He would make such an audacious claim. That my husband was meant to be an instrument for my sanctification, I could believe, but a blessing? I wasn’t sure I was ready for that.
It suddenly dawned on me that for all these months since that day of reckoning, I have believed him, but not fully trusted him with my heart. Would he understand that I still fight to forget the events of the past? Could I really trust him to be my best friend again? And yet, here my wrongdoing surfaces. On New Year’s Eve, the Lord gave me Isaiah 43:16, 18-19,
“This is what the LORD says— He who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.’ “
While I coddle my old wounds, I prevent new growth from springing up. This is my disobedience—a perverse, sinful attempt to protect myself. I profess belief in his repentance, but hesitate to trust in his rebirth. Most grievous of all, when I fail to trust him, I am ultimately failing to trust God. How can that be? After being carried through the raging fire of adversity, can I not rest in His hand in the days of calm?
Have I forgotten the strength of the enemy we face? It was not a mamby-pamby bad habit that undermined us, but a full-on assault by all the forces of Hell, “hell-bent,” as they say, on destroying the marital image of Christ and His church. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Have I forgotten the terror etched across the face of the one I love as he recounted the feeling of inescapable bondage to the sin that he despised, yet had relentlessly pursued? Until that moment, I had read verses about slavery to sin as symbolic, not literal. Yet Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.” (John 8:34)
Have I forgotten the amazing, even miraculous, work that He did for us? How the one once haunted by the terror of enslaving sin was set free? How on his knees in broken and repentant submission to Almighty God he found joy and peace? “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” (Colossians 2:13-15)
Have I forgotten the newness of life He granted us, both as individuals and as a couple? Have I forgotten the shining light in my husband’s eyes, the gentleness in his tone that bore witness to the Spirit living within him? “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Heaven forbid that I forget a single thing that my Savior has done for me! He who made a path through the sea is doing a new thing. He is waiting to bless me, if I will only open my hands to receive it.
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” (Psalm 9:1-2)