"I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret place, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." – Isaiah 45:2-4
In this series of articles, we've shared many stories of hard times, along with the "treasures of darkness" – lessons that God has taught us along the way. And although we've tried to give a vision of a vulnerable, intimate relationship where joy is much more prevalent than distress, it's important to understand that overcoming is not a straight road without bends or valleys.
Having an overcoming marriage is not something that happens overnight. It's not a destination where you can chart your arrival, say, in a matter of weeks, months or even years. And there's no magic milestone where you can say, "Now we've arrived at the perfect Christian marriage of our dreams!"
Rather, it is a commitment, a process, a hope that drives us to lift our heads and our hearts again and again to reengage. If we use the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23) as a paradigm for marriage, it's:
In an overcoming marriage, we understand that the cares of this life will always be there, but there's a bigger vision that sustains us and restores us after we fall.
That vision is Christ living in each of us individually and in the holy temple of our marriage.
What we've learned is that embracing the life of Christ extends to every aspect of our marriage. What does that mean practically?
As we follow Christ in marriage, we create fertile ground where God himself can come and restore hope, mend broken dreams and even redeem us from the depths of darkness.
No doubt this is a high calling. But here's the encouraging part. We're all in need of overcoming. Jesus came to model for us how to overcome the world. The book of Revelation tells us that Heaven will be filled with those who have overcome.
Please know that whatever you're going through that impacts your marriage – whether outward battles like addiction, financial struggles and parenting trials, or internal unrest like depression, lust, discouragement or anxiety – there is hope!
And whenever you choose to scorn the shame – and then for the joy set before you, firmly grasp onto your commitment to your mate – you've brought Christ into your marriage. And you've set out on the journey of having an overcoming marriage.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." – John 16:33