One summer when I was in college, I spent several weeks doing door-to-door book sales in Tennessee with a friend. One night after heading back home to Michigan, I found myself going around a loop in Indianapolis. I took a wrong turn and exited to get oriented. I found myself in a broken neighborhood where there were boarded up houses. I kept driving and I hit every red light. It seemed like I’d never escape this city.
After an hour, I figured out my bearings and got back on track. While I grew frustrated with my situation, I came to the point where I admitted that I had made a navigational error. I eventually took the time to evaluate my situation and seek the guidance of the map (pre GPS and iPhone days). Then I followed its instructions and made my way back home safely.
Reflecting back on this little experience has reminded me of the simplicity of the Gospel and the power it has in my life and marriage.
Recognize the Warning Signs
Sometimes we find that our marriage is not on the path we planned when we said until death do us part. Whether we’ve developed bad habits, undisciplined lifestyles, poor communication, sinful addictions, or are harboring bitterness and resentment, we can easily become discontented with our spouse. Suddenly, we might find that our marriage is not in a place we anticipated when we said I do.
Those frustrations are the first warning signs that your marriage is going down the wrong path. You’re quickly headed to a destination that will bring you great pain if something doesn’t change. The good news is that if you find yourself lost in your marriage, know that you can arrive safely to the Ever After that you always dreamed of.
When Mark wrote his Gospel, Israel was not in a good place. She too was lost as ever. Stripped of her prosperity and security in her land, over the centuries she was raped and pillaged by the powerful nations of her day. Where was God? What happened to His promises? Was God’s relationship with His people over?
God Sees You
Mark writes to Israel in order to encourage them. To let them know that God sees them circling the dark streets of their “Indianapolis.” To let them know that all is not over.
In fact, His love for them was about to shine greater than ever.
In Mark 1, Mark is acting like a GPS when he writes of everyone from Jerusalem and Judea repenting and being baptized. Baptism and repentance were on the road map to get back to the Promised Land. The Messiah was near, and Israel’s relationship with God would change forever.
Looking at the map ultimately would lead Israel to Jesus Messiah, and Israel’s road home would be found in the person of Jesus Christ. The same is true for our marriages today.
If you’ve woken up recently and found yourself circling in the darkness and isolation of a broken marriage that you just cannot seem to fix, know that there is hope for you. This hope is ultimately found when you and your spouse fix your eyes on Christ.
The Path to Healing
For me to get back home that dark night in Indianapolis, I had to read the map, compare it to where I was located, and start doing what it said. This is what Israel had to do. This is what we all have to do in our marriages today.
Your path to healing begins with Christ who loves you unconditionally- when you buy in to the fact that He is working in your midst, even when you cannot see beyond the darkness of the storm in your life. It begins by experiencing that gracious love and forgiveness and then ultimately pouring it out on your spouse.
Loving your spouse when you’re on a broken road might mean seeking guidance from those who’ve successfully walked the path before us, who have a long history of reading and applying God’s roadmap. It means starting to make decisions that will bring life to your marriage. It means admitting where you’re wrong. It means saying, “I’m sorry. I hurt you when _____. In the future, I will ______. Will you please forgive me?”
Your destination to a healthy marriage is in sight. Are you willing to do what it takes to get there?