Treasures of Faith: Lord, Change Me: Denise's Story
By Chuck and Sharon Betters
Faith Principle #5: Biblical faith means surrendering to God’s Will.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. Hebrews 11:20, Genesis 24: 25:19 – 28:9
When I held my newborn son for the first time, I knew I had to raise this child to honor God. My husband, Paul, did not share my desire, however, and the more I nagged and begged him to come to church with me, the more our fragile marriage deteriorated.
I eagerly accepted an invitation to attend a women's Bible study, though I was sure the topic – Lord, Change Me, by Evelyn Christenson – wouldn't be especially beneficial for me. God had already saved me, so why on earth did I need to change? I had already "arrived." I already knew what I needed to know, and I was already the person I needed to be – wasn't I?
Our next study, the love story in the book of Ruth, however, began to stir up more discontent in me regarding my husband and the state of our marriage. The other families in the church, every one of which seemed so "together" and harmonious, were a constant reminder of what I did not have in my own life, and I regularly cried out to God, "If only You would save my husband, my life would be perfect!" My desire for my husband to become a Christian began to matter more to me than anything else. Week after week nothing happened. One of my friends, who was not a Christian, encouraged me to get a divorce, but my friends from the Bible study urged me to seek biblical counseling, and so I did.
The counselor's proposed course of action shocked me. Instead of showing me how to change my husband, this woman showed me my own need to change, and she helped me learn new ways to handle conflict in a way that honored God. I wanted to run home from each session to share with my husband what I was learning, but my first study in I Peter 3 stopped me. I interpreted this passage to mean: "Stay focused on your Father in heaven, not on your husband. Learn contentment where you are, and don't miss the blessings of each day." (My husband later told me that he hated God the most whenever I would try to "nag him to faith," so learning to be a "silent witness" was a valuable lesson indeed!)
It would be a lie to say that I skipped down the road to obedience with a joyful and obedient spirit, or that I mastered all of God's lessons on the first try. The journey was painful, long, and hard. At times, God's directions in His Word did not make sense to me and so I obeyed reluctantly –kicking and complaining and crying all the while. God placed me in a group of Godly women who taught me that all Scripture – even Proverbs 31 – applied to me. They encouraged me to persevere and to love my husband unconditionally.
After eleven years of prayers and tears, I was overjoyed to see how God, in HIS time, brought Paul to Himself. My husband's salvation was the answer to my prayers, but learning to live with a Christian man brought struggles of its own! I am a strong-willed woman, accustomed to traveling through life "spiritually single." Now, however, I am learning how to surrender to the leadership of my Godly husband, who started the journey long after I did. It isn't always very easy to let go, to surrender to God's will for us, but I am learning, slowly, step-by-step, day-by-day, how to do this.
Paul and I don't know what future God has in store for us, but we are learning that He gives us many wonderful surprises as we learn to respond to His Word in obedience and as we surround ourselves with Godly people, who, in turn, encourage us to live by faith. As Paul and I continue to run the race that God has set before us, we are learning to rest in the truths; that God is in control, that He is ever faithful, and that He will work out His good and gracious plans for each of us n His own time, in His own way.
In His grip,
Chuck and Sharon Betters
Excerpted from Treasures of Faith, Living Boldly in View of God's Promises, pages 87-89. Used by permission of P & R Publishing Company, copyright ©1999 by Chuck and Sharon Betters. All rights reserved.
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Treasures of Faith, Living Boldly in View of God’s Promises
A verse by verse study of Hebrews 11. Each chapter includes a real life story, exposition of the scriptures, and Digging Deeper questions. For personal or small group study, a Leader’s Guide is Available as well as specially priced bundles for small group studies.