Can’t you hear it now? Close your eyes and remember a time when you were complaining to mom or dad. They just asked you to clean your room and your response was the obvious…”But Mooooom, that isn’t fair!” And what did they say? “Well, guess what? LIFE isn’t fair!”
We said it when we were 4, and we are still saying those same words in our adult lives. And yet, it takes us time and time again to learn this lesson, that life just isn’t fair! It’s more than just a lesson, isn’t it? It’s more like a principle to live by.
Our life group has been discussing the Love and Respect series, a marriage series, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. We were all familiar with it from the time our church hosted this same study. However, revisiting has proved very beneficial, as this series is based off God’s Living Word, which has power to move us in different ways each time we read through it. And this time, reading through this series spoke to me personally, in a different, more powerful way, and not just for my marriage but for every area of my life.
In this series is a running theme: weathering the storm. God promised there would be trouble in marriage. In fact, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:8, “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.” He advises that being single can be good so we can focus on God.
God also promises there will be trouble in life.
“In this life you will have trouble...” John 16:33.
We are no longer in paradise. Paradise was lost long ago in the garden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command. They were thrown out of the Garden of Eden because God is a holy God and cannot be in the presence of sinful man. Sin is troubling.
We can’t go into our marriages (or any relationship or life circumstance) expecting perfection, or a sinless marriage. We are not exempt from the fall of man. Therefore, sin will penetrate our marriages, and life will, at times, seem unfair. So what do we do when it does? Well, according to Dr. Eggerichs, we weather the storm. Bad times will come, but not just in marriage…in life, too.
Perhaps you are thinking of an unfair disadvantage you feel you’ve always had…why me, you ask. Your mom died at an early age and didn’t get to raise you. Your looks or maybe your personality weren’t up to standard growing up. Maybe you give all you have to your husband and children and you find out he’s been unfaithful to you. Or, perhaps after years of trying, you find out you are unable to have children. Whatever it may be, God still has a promise for you. And, believe it or not (because it was really hard for me to understand at first), God wants you to endure. He wants us to weather the storm. Not on our own, or out of our own strength, but His.
In the Love and Respect series, there is a cycle of relationships called the “rewarded cycle”. The picture it creates is of you respecting your husband (or loving your wife) regardless of his/her love/respect for you. You see, God calls us to be bigger than ourselves. He calls us to be a picture of Himself in our marriages and in this world, regardless of what our spouse or this life on earth throws back at us. Love anyway. Respect anyway.
Life here on this planet, isn’t fair. But GOD is! There is a second part to that verse. “In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Jesus has come down from heaven and bridged the gap between our brokenness and His holiness. That’s how we can once again have life with Him. All we have to do is ask Him to save us from our wretched sin and He can give us the strength to do just what He has called us to…weather the storm. Live in an unfair life and know that with Him, we can and will make it. We can have successful marriages, successful friendships. We can live in a world that judges our every move and respond with confidence and with a smile. We can love our enemies. We can forgive those that don’t forgive. We can love and live knowing that He has overcome all the sin and that He has something better for us ahead.
I know what you are thinking. “Wait…wait. You mean, we weather the storm because God told us to? Because He loves us and promises more one day? Because He wants us to be like Him? So, I am supposed to be Jesus in my relationships/marriage/everyday encounters? I can’t be Jesus.”
No, you can’t be Jesus. So, seek help. If you need it, which everyone does, get counseling for a struggling, failing, or content marriage. Seek counseling or medical help for depression. Start or join an accountability group. Open up to others. You may be extremely surprised at who struggles in the same ways as you, or that your problems just aren’t quite as pitiful as they seem.
A speaker and researcher gave a talk on the subject of happiness. She researched all kinds of personalities and focused specifically on people that had, what she defined, as true happiness. In digging deeper into each of their profiles, she discovered that what all of these thousands of people had in common was a willingness to be vulnerable.
While it’s not necessary to be vulnerable with everyone you come in contact with, it’s important to be vulnerable with those you can trust and especially with those that you love. We can’t keep our feelings, anxieties, fears, and insecurities completely to ourselves, lest those wounds may never heal. Sin will build as Satan uses those issues we hide or keep to ourselves to cause resentment, bitterness, more fear and insecurity. Be vulnerable. Open up. Reveal the dark areas in your life.
“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.” John 1:5
God sent His own Son, Jesus, to save a broken world. He was completely vulnerable to a world that didn’t deserve it and couldn’t promise anything in return. He did this so we could weather the storm with the knowledge that one day we’d live with Him.
-Karen Anne Sinkhorn
My name is Karen Anne Sinkhorn. I am a wife, full time mother of two happy, healthy daughters, and a nurse, very part time. I co-lead a life group with my husband, Jacob, and another couple at Springdale, the Hauers. I also volunteer in the children’s program with the young ones. We have been attending SCC since before my first child was born, and she is now four years old. My second child was born in June. It’s a busy time, but it’s also fun! For “me time,” I read, run, or just take a quiet minute to myself!!