For Better or For Worse

Published December 31, 2012 by Dawn

I don’t even know what started the latest tiff between us. It could have been the unpaid bills or the latest issue the kids were having. It could have been another miscommunication. I’m not sure. I just knew that things had grown cold between us. We hardly talked, rarely stayed long in the same room, and I was so angry with him that none of this really bothered me. Our relationship, once alight with passion had grown cold and lifeless. It still kinda hurt that he wasn’t talking to me. Well, really, I was incredibly lonely. But how could I tell him that when every time I looked at him, I felt pierced again. He had disappointed me again. It seemed like his protection was never enough, his provisions were never enough. When I needed him, he was distant. When I longed for his comfort, he withheld. I cast silent accusations at him every time he came near. “How could you?” In exasperation, I cried, “What kind of a husband are you?” He turned and lovingly looked at me, and said, “What kind of a wife are you?”

Ah, how things go between God and I. We have that kind of relationship. It’s real, and we are free to be honest with each other. I withhold nothing from Him and He lovingly returns affection in like kind. How could I expect anything else from Him but a startling reality check when my dramatic pity-party went unchecked for far too long? This morning at church, my only desire was to talk to Him. I wanted to feel Him again and to know that we were okay. I praised Him with all of my heart and soul, and as I stood there in His presence humbly offering my praise to Him, crying out for His companionship again, this is what He said to me. “What kind of a wife are you?” Not accusing me, not condemning me. Just asking that I analyze myself in light of the relationship we are in: what kind of a wife am I?

Demanding. Whiny. Nagging. Hateful. Selfish. Unreasonable. So conditional. Ouch! It’s true! I’m not a very good one. After all, I expect things to go my way, or else. When I accepted God as my Husband, I came to Him with a list of my expectations and because He’s God, I expected nothing less than everything He was capable of, which is everything. I expected Him to provide for all my needs (including the needs of my children). I expected His supernatural protection in the physical sense as well as in the spiritual sense. I expected His undivided attention to me and my needs. I never expected to hear Him say “No.” He’s my Husband, and I expected, out of a loving adoration for me, He would lavish goodness on me. Of course, I expected that His enemies would also become my enemies, but I never expected to be in any real danger of them. After all, my Husband is God! What I never expected was hardship. I never expected tears. I never expected to struggle with unmet needs. I never expected to wrestle with loneliness. I never expected to lie awake at night hurting over the unmet needs of my children. God was supposed to take care of all of that.

When I was confronted with reality – that I would not always have everything I wanted or even needed, that my kids would still grapple with things I couldn’t fix, that bills would be unpaid and life would still be scary sometimes – I stared accusingly at God. Why? What have I done that deserves this? Why can’t you love me enough to take care of us and all of our needs? I became hardened toward Him. “This is not what I envisioned my life would be like!” And do you know how He responded? “Will you love me even now?” Ugh! My heart was torn! “I want to, but I don’t know how! I’ve never loved someone unselfishly before!” In fact, I’ve never even seen it done. I have never known an unselfish love. It is not naturally within me. When I accepted God as my Husband, it was not “for better or for worse.” It was, embarrassingly, “for better or else!” I did not agree to become one in heart, body, and soul. I agreed to receive, but only to give when it benefited me in some way. I agreed to pain, but only if it paid off in the long-run. I agreed to be the object of affection and to return affection … when it was earned. Oh, what a horrible wife I am!

With all of my heart, I responded by asking Him, “Jesus, help me to become one with you, so that I may  love in that way. Not just you, but everyone. Regardless of what others think of me or do to me, help me to love unselfishly and unconditionally. I want to be the kind of person that loves without expecting anything in return. I want to love without distinctions, without prejudice, without exceptions. Mostly, I want to love God for better or for worse. I don’t want to turn a cold shoulder when things don’t go my way. I don’t want to agonize over things that I am incapable of fixing on my own. I don’t want to accuse Him of unfairness or hatred when He doesn’t answer my prayers the way I want Him to. No matter what my life looks like when I’m lying on my death bed, no matter what hardships I face or what riches I know, I want to be in this together with You, my Husband. For better or for worse.”

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