“Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” —1 Thess. 5:16-18
Reading this passage, along with the rest of Paul’s writings, I find myself astonished. I’m supposed to rejoice always — not just when life is happy and enjoyable. Of course it’s easy to rejoice in the good times, and I’m learning to confide in Christ when I’m struggling. But rejoicing and choosing joy in the bad times? That’s a tough one.
Already I’ve found that my level of happiness and willingness to rejoice largely rests on the condition of my marriage. Rough patches happen, and they make it hard to even function normally — much less rejoice.
Trusting God through trials
A. W. Tozer hits the nail on the head when he says: “A low view of God is the cause of a hundred lesser evils. A high view of God is the solution to ten thousand temporal problems.”
Once we see the victory that was achieved in the saddest place (Jesus on the cross), our view of our own situation is completely changed. Paul’s gospel defeats the entire idea of happiness on this earth. Jesus’ death brought forth the greatest blessing possible, and so do many other trials.
This idea has helped me in my role as a wife. Though marriage is an incredible blessing, I can’t base my happiness and thankfulness on the condition of it.
Ultimately, I have two responses to trials in my marriage: Genesis 42:36 or Romans 8:28. In Genesis 42:36, Jacob is going through a time of struggle, and he says, “All this has come against me!” This type of reaction bases the whole situation around me, my wants, and my expectations.
However, Romans 8:28 says that everything works together for good for those who love God. This picture puts God in the center of my motives, so somehow I know that in the midst of trials within our marriage, He is at work.
I can choose to only praise God when marriage is bliss, or I can choose to praise him through it all.