God knows where we live, and He’s not surprised at what we’re facing. Even though we face things that make no sense to us, there’s meaning and purpose to everything we face. I’m convinced that understanding our fallen world and God’s purpose for keeping us in it is foundational to building marriages of unity, understanding, and love.
You see, most of us have a personal happiness paradigm. Now, it’s not wrong to want to be happy, and it’s not wrong to work toward marital happiness. God has given us the capacity for enjoyment and placed wonderful things around us to enjoy. The problem isn’t that this is a wrong goal, but that it’s way too small of a goal. God is working on something deep, necessary, and eternal.
God has a personal holiness paradigm. Don’t be put off by the language here. The words mean that God is working through our daily circumstances to change us. In His love, He knows that we’re not all we were created to be. Even though it may be hard to admit, there’s still sin inside of us, and that sin gets in the way of what we’re meant to be and designed to do (and, by the way, that sin is the biggest obstacle of all to a marriage of unity, understanding, and love).
God is using the difficulties of the here and now to transform us, that is, to rescue us from us. And because He loves us, He will willingly interrupt or compromise our momentary happiness in order to accomplish one more step in the process of rescue and transformation, to which He is unshakably committed.
When we begin to accept God’s paradigm, life makes more sense—the things we face aren’t irrational trouble but transforming tools. And there’s hope for us and our marriages, because God is in the middle of our circumstances, and He’s using them to mold us into what He created us to be. As He does this, we not only respond to life better, but we become better people to live with, which results in better marriages.
So, somehow, some way, this fallen world and what it contains will enter our doors, but we don’t have to be afraid. God is with us, and He’s working so that these difficult things will result in good things in and through us.