A quick note on Jeremiah 26: 7-16. The passage is a parallel to Jesus’ last days. Jeremiah is a type of Jesus here:
- Jeremiah and Jesus both talk about the temple being destroyed (vs. 7)
- Priests want to kill both of them (vs. 11)
- Neither resist their persecutors (vs. 14)
- Both were innocent (vs. 15)
Very interesting – to me, anyway!
Now, onto the story of our marriage, summarized in tonight’s Proverb:
As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 NIV
The following is taken from a post I wrote several years ago (edited here) that explains how our marriage sharpens both DH and me.
When my husband and I were first dating, I asked him if he wanted to be married. He said he wasn’t sure he wanted to marry: he had been very happy as a single.
He then asked me if I wanted to be married. I said yes (no, duh: I was a 36 year old single Christian woman…). Then he asked me why and I replied that I thought marriage was the best arena in which to be sanctified (sounds rather holy, huh?!).
He was so impressed (LOL) and convicted (so he says) that he decided then and there he wanted to be married – and 10 months later, we were.
There are obviously many good reasons to be married. But, for me, sanctification — being made holy — is near the top of my list. It’s the reason for marriage that gets me through the hard stuff, anyway.
A former pastor of mine (Tim Keller) shared one of the best metaphors of marriage that I had ever heard. He said Christian marriage is like a rock polisher. The rocks are the husband and wife. The polishing agent is the Holy Spirit. And the covenant of marriage keeps the rocks in the polisher.
You spend marriage knocking against each other and the Holy Spirit. It isn’t always fun. It’s often painful. It’s rarely happier ever after (in the mythical sense). But those rocks get polished. It’s like “iron sharpening iron.” That’s what marriage does: build character, transform the rocks.
Marriage does lead to happily ever after in the sense that – if the partners stay in the polisher (the marriage covenant) – the rocks get polished. When things get tough in my marriage, this encourages me for two reasons.
First, a polished rock is easier to live with than a sharp one. So, if both of us yield to the character-building role of the covenant, then we will both become easier people to live with.
Second, the rock polisher uses my husband to show me my sin (my own sharp edges) and bring me to repentance.
I just deleted the rest of what I wrote four years ago, because, frankly, it seemed trite, uninformed. So here’s the rest of the story –
I have since experienced four more years of DH not having a job (I still had some hope then that things would change). I had yet to enter my “dusky hour of the soul.” I had not yet lost the horrible job I had at the time only to endure two years of joblessness for me, too.
During these years, I was often frustrated and angry with DH for not trying harder to get a job (little did I know that his failing kidneys were part of the problem).
I saw friends leave marriages for far less – so it seemed to me – but I tenaciously clung to this iron sharpening iron stuff.
And then I finally broke.
The Great Polishing Agent in the Sky got through to me, brought me to my knees in repentance. Over the last couple of years:
- God showed me just how much I lived to please myself and to find my worth in my circumstances – which seemed to prove 1) I was a lousy person who got what she deserved or 2) God forgot to deliver my reward! For the first time in my entire Christian life, I had been angry at God. And He graciously helped me to repent.
- Only by God’s grace – and not of myself – I accepted that DH might never work again and said, “Ok, Lord, I’ll take another secular job to care for our family if You want.” Apparently, that’s not what God wanted.
- John Piper convicted me at a conference that my desire to gain men’s glory was often greater than my desire to give God glory.
- On the way home from that conference I asked the friend I traveled with what her greatest spiritual need was at the time: “To be more thankful” in her very trying circumstance. That thought stuck with me. The next day, sitting on the couch in our den, I felt overwhelmed by conviction. I went over to my husband in his chair, lay on him – and weeping – asked him and God to forgive me for my lack of gratefulness for him and for our entire marriage.
Not long after, I started the job that’s the calling of my life. And DH’s kidneys failed.
Thank God for DH and how God has used the horrific difficulties in DH’s life – and in mine because of him – to polish this rough rock.
Just a little bit more.
Today’s Readings: Jeremiah 25:1 – 26:24, Psalm 119: 25-32, Proverbs 27:17, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).