There is an old joke that says there are three rings of marriage: the engagement ring, the wedding ring and the suffer-ring. People laugh at this but it “rings” with some truth. As couples prepare for marriage, their thoughts are centered on their hopes and dreams for a future filled with joy and happiness. But suffering is inevitable in all of our lives; no one is immune from sickness, trials and ultimately the death of a loved one. We need to think about how we will deal with suffering when it comes. Will it break our relationship or will it draw us closer together? Christ-centered marriages have a better chance of surviving the inescapable sufferings and trials when they come.
We can look to Sacred Scripture for a model of patience in suffering. Job was a man of God. His life was richly blessed with prestige, possessions and a large family. Satan came before God claiming that Job only trusted God because of his prosperity. God allowed Satan to destroy Job’s children, livestock and home but Job continued to trust in God. Job’s wife and friends tried to convince Job that God had punished him because of some sin he must have committed. Alone and without encouragement from his wife or friends, Job heard God speak to him in a cloud. Job fell in humble reverence before Him. God rebuked Job’s friends and restored even greater wealth, prosperity and family to Job.
Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:10-11
Job did not reject God, but Job did challenge and accuse Him. God quieted Job when He firmly presented His perspective on the situation. God overwhelmed Job and his friends with the truth of His majesty and sovereignty. Job came away with a deeper sense of God’s power and splendor, trusting Him more.
“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6
Job is the model of obedience to God in the face of extreme suffering. Job learned that when he had nothing left, he still had God and that was enough. In your marital trials, trust God no matter what happens. Those who endure suffering and the testing of their faith will receive great rewards from God. Do not give up. Trust all your concerns to God’s loving care. Testing is difficult but will lead you to a deeper relationship with God and your spouse.
I know that my redeemer lives… Job 19:25
Suffering is unavoidable in this life. Is your relationship with God strong enough for the trials you face? Can you trust Him in the midst of your suffering? We suggest that you read and meditate on the Book of Job, chapters 38 to 42. Pray for a stronger faith in the almighty Creator described in these chapters. Also pray for the grace to see your situation through His eyes. Instead of asking where God is in the midst of your pain, ask yourself “Do I trust God, even though I do not understand my circumstances?”
God allows suffering in our lives. We have the choice to become bitter and angry over the unfairness of the situation or we can grow in love and trust in the heavenly Father no matter what the circumstances. Our prayer is that you will increase your trust in God, for “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).
May the grace of God equip all husbands and wives with everything they need to weather the inevitable storms when they come. May peace, love and joy abound in your marriage as you trust in Him.