From Unequally Yoked to Blessed Assurance
God, Please Grant Me Strength
My husband is a wonderful man. We have been married for 30 years and we have four grown children. But back to my husband: he is tall, strong with slender arms and legs. And did I mention how smart, fun loving, prudent, practical and handy he is? Oh, he’s also an amazing cook! My children and I enjoy his extraordinary culinary skills. Though he isn’t big into presentation, his dishes are always wholesome, rich and appealing to the taste buds. I have to say, I love his ginger beef stir-fry and Hong Kong-style potato salad the most!
My life sounds like a fairy tale, right? So why is it difficult for me to cope with such a wonderful man? It has nothing to do with intimacy in the intellectual, social, or sexual realms. This is where the difficulty kicks in: My husband is not a believer in Christ. It is this lack of spiritual intimacy that dulls our relationship. The union of a husband and wife is incomplete unless the body, mind and spirit are connected. I constantly struggle with the fact that my husband needs God so that the spiritual void can be filled in our marriage. Our marriage needs that spiritual bond for our souls to be united.
My Wrestle with God
I pray regularly for God’s strength, and would cry out to Him for my husband’s salvation. After years of trying to ‘win’ my husband over to Christ, I began throwing temper tantrums at Him, pleading to God over and over again. I engaged in activities that I believed would help me mature as a Christian and thus a stronger witness. I tried praying alone, as a family, in small groups and in church-wide prayer meetings. I served as a worship team leader, vacation bible school director, youth counsellor, Sunday-school teacher, kitchen helper and even as a fundraiser coordinator. On top of reading the Bible and memorizing verses, I studied my faith through seminary schools, continuing education courses and Sunday school sessions. (Mind you, all of these activities are not trivial, one-time deals; I have been practicing them for years.)
My Turning Point
One day, I had enough and I cried out to God, “My heavenly Father, I have tried everything that a ‘good’ Christian is supposed to do. Isn’t it enough work to want my husband to believe in Christ? Do you hear my prayers? I have offered my talents, my gifts and my time to your ministry to show you that I trust and obey your commands. What else am I supposed to do? Am I not a faithful servant? I’m tired of sitting in the church pew by myself every Sunday. Don’t I deserve a godly husband who lovingly attends to his wife? I know that you are able to transform my husband’s unbelieving heart. Why don’t you do it then? I am tired of waiting and trying.” I felt utterly helpless, but then I heard His voice speak to me: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NIV).
I suddenly realized that my cries for my husband’s salvation are my struggle to accept God’s plan for my life. My eyes were finally opened and I immediately bowed down. I surrendered to His will and repented of my selfishness and rude accusations in previous conversations with Him. I asked for His forgiveness.
Then the weight on my shoulders suddenly lifted. A calm river of peace descended over me and I could finally see miles ahead with serenity.
Salvation is God’s Business
God shared with me a new level of understanding, of what it means to be obedient to Him. He taught me the lesson of submission, inviting me to surrender my whole being to Him. I needed to see what I was lacking, which meant I needed to rely on His strength and trust in His plan. This meant I had to look into my own transformation. Overall, it has more to do with ‘being’ than ‘doing’; in other words, being obedient rather than offering sacrifices. I cherish the teaching on the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5 and have started my journey on living out each Biblical truth, one nugget at a time.
That was my turning point and it completely changed my outlook and my relationship with God. I was sorry for being self-centred and condescending, and I submit to and worship His sovereignty. Finally, I have committed my husband’s salvation to His mighty hands with hopeful assurance.
I waited and waited and waited for GOD.
At last he looked; finally he listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip.
– Psalm 40:1-2, The Message