Dangers: Little Foxes • Devotion 4

The Beauty of Hardship
Pastor Ryan and Cathy Story

I have never met a married couple who has not had their fair share of hardships. It can be hardships that are self-induced or a Job-like storm the couple goes through together. I know I was under a fierce sense of denial of that before I got married and thought that my marriage would always be healthy. If I worked hard enough and planned well enough, I could create a wall so amazing it would keep all the little foxes out. I made that wall. I kept my eye on influences that would be a detriment to the health of my marriage and I kept that portion of the wall high. When I first got married, I thought that all hardships to enter my marriage would be caused by external threats. The truth we all have to come to is the biggest threat that will bring hardship into your marriage is not from the external, it is from the internal.

So often in our relationship with Jesus, we view external influences as the biggest threat to that relationship. Now we have to know, that those external influences are dangerous! Sex, vulgarity, cynicism, fear, consumerism, envy, and pride run rampant within media. The world we live in views God’s Word less as truth and more as a guideline that can be accepted or rejected. We live in a constant state of hurry that does not allow us time to spend the time to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10). As much as we can claim all of those influences are the biggest hardship we see in our walk with God, we have to come to the realization that those are not the biggest threat. The biggest threat to your walk with God, the number one influence that brings hardship into your life, is the sin that resides inside your heart. We cannot build a wall to protect our marriages from hardship, because most of the time we are the ones who create the hardship.

Hardship is inevitable in this life. We live in an amazing time. Jesus has come and died on a cross for our sins to restore humanity’s relationship with our creator. It is such an amazing act of grace and restoration when we call upon the name of Jesus for the saving of our souls and renewal of our lives! However, Jesus has not returned for His bride, His church. We live in this “in-between” state where we are not with Jesus in Heaven, where there is no sin, but we are not bound by living in our sin. So while we all live in this “in-between” we will have hardships because the sin that dwells in us is constantly trying to pull us to the sin that is externally in the world. Why do we see hardships in marriage? It is because of sin. It is not external forces that are to blame. Hardship in life is because we are living in a way that is contrary to how God has called us to live.

Every marriage will go through hardship. However, the beauty of hardship comes when our struggle leads us back to God. In 1 John 1:9, we read, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
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