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But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NKJV)
What is the hope that you have? Is the hope that you have that your wife will come home? That you will grow in the Lord during this desert experience? That your wife comes to a true relationship with our Lord and Savior? Where is your hope? Is it in the right place?
Reading this verse, there is an interesting statement here – Sanctify the Lord in your heart. What does it actually mean? Sanctify means to make holy, to make Jesus at home in your heart; to let Him sit on the throne of your life.; give Him the honor and glory. Notice too here, this is a command, something we are being told to do. It is an act of your own will. This means we have to purposefully surrender our lives and wills to God, invite our Savior to reign as Lord of our life and seek to live a life of holiness. Let His way be our way.
Through this journey, I realized that I have placed my hope in so many places besides where it should be. My hope was in my wife, her encouragement, her smile, her love, and her strength. My hope was in our marriage. My hope has been in our children, our family. My hope has been in relationships with people. So when my marriage fails, when my wife walks away, when I do not see our kids, what happens to my hope if this is where I placed it?
Since my hope was placed not on what is above, does this mean I have lost all hope?
God has been growing me over the last year. For the first time in my life, I am actually growing in the Lord and it has been an amazing journey. It doesn’t mean that I always walk in complete obedience and that I know everything. It means that there is a continuous forward growth, knowing I never want to go back to where I have been. It is my desire to sanctify the Lord in my heart, to have a complete heart change.
I realize that my hope has changed. My hope is in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and what He can do in and through me. The hope we have is God working in our lives and the lives of our wives and children to bring about a life change, something only He can do.
When my hope is in the right place, I realize it is no longer about me, it is about what God wants and what He can do through me and his purpose for this journey.
I have noticed that when my eyes are on my circumstances, I become ineffective in my walk, my growth with God and the ministry that He has blessed me with. When I surrender my circumstances to God, it is amazing to see what God can do through it.
For instance, on a visit back to Texas, I was waiting with my wife for a teacher conference for one of our kids. My wife was unable to wait any longer and went to work. After she left, another parent came up to me and said that God led him to speak with me. Turns out his wife had left him, and I was able to share my faith and my stand with him. We have maintained continuous communication, encouraging each other. I see that God put me there, not for me, not for my wife or my marriage, but He put me there for what God was doing. This has not been a lone incident.
Amazingly, things like this did not happen in my life two years ago. It started happening when I became broken and started to depend on God, when I started to sanctify the Lord in my heart. He has given me opportunities to give a defense for the hope I have in Christ Jesus working in me. God’s plan is not our own.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Billy Graham once said, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” He also said, “The cross tells us that God understands our sin and our suffering, for He took them upon himself in the Person of Jesus Christ. From the cross God declares, ‘I love you. I know the heartaches and the sorrows and the pain that you feel. But I love you.’”
God can use the loss and pain we are experiencing in our marriage to bring about greater glory for His name when we completely surrender to Him, sanctifying the Lord in our hearts, and placing our hope in His loving arms.
Remember that, We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
God has given you a promise. Surrender your will to Him. Place your hope in God, in what God can do through your life and the life of your wife, in your marriage and family.
One of the verses that I read nearly every day is, ‘Remember the word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life. Psalm 119:49-50 (NKJV)
Now are you prepared to give a defense for the Hope that you have?
David in Virginia
Unless otherwise noted, scripture quoted are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.