Saturday, March 7, 2009

For Better or For Worse

Pastor Tim Howard
March 7, 2009

On February 16, 1973 I spoke these words to my wife. “ I, Tim Howard take you Donna to be my wife. To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse. I promise to love you the same way Jesus loves me. I promise to support you, cherish you, respect you, and be faithful to only you for as long as we both shall live.”
At the age of 22, I didn’t fully understand the meaning of that phrase ‘for better or for worse’. After 36 years of marriage to the same woman, I am beginning to understand the value of each. We have had our share of bad times! We have both thought about quitting. The word divorce has crossed our minds. When we thought it couldn’t get much worse, it did. It’s laughable now but it was painful then. Maybe you have had some bad times in your marriage or possibly you are in a difficult season right now. I want you to know that God can use your bad times to build character. Rather than allowing difficult moments to destroy you, turn to God and let Him define and develop you.

Life is not just about growing up! To succeed in life you must grow down as well. Trees that grow high will not stand against the winds of time unless they have deep roots. God uses the ‘worse’ times to develop a deep root system in your life. The roots that are developed in dark seasons will sustain you and build character that will keep you from crumbling under adversity. Paul the Apostle conveys this truth in the New Testament. Romans 5:3-5, We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us…
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t look forward to bad times and I am very thankful we have experienced far more of the ‘better’ years than ‘worse’. If, however, you embrace the good along with the bad and turn to God in both seasons, your love can grow stronger. Divorce doesn’t have to become a reality! Here are five directives that can turn the bad into better. Maybe even from better to best!

1. Never Quit! When things get tough, don’t stop doing the little things that made your marriage wonderful. Remember, long before a divorce is ever finalized, someone quit doing the right things.

2. Look for the gold in each other and don’t focus on the dirt. No one finds gold without going through some dirt and no one finds gold if they focus on the dirt.

3. Love from your heart and not only from the emotions. In the ‘worse’ times, you need to decide to love your mate even though you may not like them. Love is a decision. New emotions will follow.

4. Don’t hide things from each other. Read Psalms 32 to see how devastating this can be.

5. Make God and His desire your first priority. When He is first, things fall into place. Check out Matthew 6:33 and discover God’s promise to you.

Why not visit a church this weekend and expect a miracle? If God can do the miracle of turning water into wine (Mark 2) He can surely turn your ‘worse’ into ‘better’.

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