by Britney Hamm
That “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8) is especially good news for us when we consider the reality of our flighty hearts.
Our affections ebb and flow. Our passion for Christ surges and then dwindles.
Sometimes we feel like a dry desert, lacking the intimate adoration for Christ that should flow out of our understanding of his Word.
Sometimes we feel like we’re walking by a serene brook, where everything is calm and beauty is easy to see.
Sometimes we feel like a dusty library of books, filled with lusterless academic knowledge bereft of joy.
Sometimes we feel like we’re flying, caught up in the thrill & joy of walking with Jesus in the truth of his word.
Sometimes we feel like we’re in a dark cave filled with brokenness and pain with no foreseeable exit.
Sometimes we feel like we’re in a forest of weariness, struggle, and pain in which rays of sunlight bring us joy as the reassuring presence of the Holy Spirit to carries us through.
Praise God that neither our salvation nor our sanctification depends upon our emotion, passion, or circumstances!
We may go through that entire range of feelings all in a single morning, and certainly we experience all of this over the course of a lifetime!
And yet God’s faithfulness remains the same.
While some of these experiences are difficult to endure personally, I think it’s even harder to watch your husband walk through the hard places. At least it is for me.
Perhaps you, like me, are flooded with questions such as these:
What do I do when my husband has lost his passion for Jesus in one of these seasons? What do I do when my husband is weary from all of the brokenness and pain? How do I respond when I hear my husband preaching the gospel to others daily, but I see what no one else sees—the message of the gospel has ceased to revive and rejuvenate his own heart? What do I do when my husband just isn’t “feeling it” when it comes to his spiritual walk? How will this affect our family? Our marriage? How do I lovingly hold him accountable when sin is creeping in through the back door and he’s not seeing it or repenting of it?
I’ll tell you one thing you can’t do: you can’t pretend your husband’s spiritual depression does not affect you, because it does. You can’t shrug it off as “just his problem.” Your husband’s spiritual struggles do affect your family. He’s your one flesh. His spiritual vitality is your concern too.
You love him more intimately than any other person on the planet. It breaks your heart to see him struggle.
You long to see him filled with joy and love for Jesus again. You’re concerned about the enemy crouching at the back door ready to entangle him in sin of who knows what kind.
So what do you do?
First, before you “do” anything, you start with trusting God and clinging to the truths of Scripture. Then, by God’s grace, you walk by faith, letting God’s word deal with your own heart along the way.
This is a subject that is close to my heart, and I’ve experienced joy as God has grown me and my husband closer to himself and to each other. The first thing I need to remember and rejoice in is this:
God says, “I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:11). I cannot be my husband’s savior.
No amount of nagging, smothering, giving him books to read, or asking friends to encourage him can ultimately bring him out of spiritually-dry periods in his life.
Remember that the Lord, and the Lord alone, is your husband’s Savior. If your husband is a Christian, then his salvation rests secure in the work of Jesus Christ. Only God could save him from the pit of destruction eternally, and only God can rescue him from the spiritual caves, deserts, and dusty libraries throughout his life.
The second thing I need to remember is that God’s faithfulness to sanctify my husband does not ultimately depend on my husband’s faithfulness.
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (1 Thess. 5:23-24).
God promises to sanctify those who believe in Christ as Lord and Savior. Period.
Just as God is the author of salvation, so he is the author of our growth in holiness. As our salvation does not rest on our faithfulness but his, so it is with our sanctification.
Just because your husband is going through a hard time spiritually does not mean the process of sanctification has been derailed.
Sanctification is a lifelong process…and a guaranteed promise.
Not only will the Lord sanctify your husband, he will protect him against Satan. “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one” (1 Thess. 3:3). Your husband may fall into sin. He may be discouraged and depressed. He may seem broken beyond repair. But he will not be lost to the evil one. The Lord is faithfully guarding him against the evil one.
Who better to guard him than the one who rose from the grave triumphant over evil? When Jesus rose from the grave he conquered sin. He walked away with the victory. His power reigned supreme.
That same power has tight hold on your husband. When your husband is defenseless, God is his defense.
No matter how bad it gets, the All-Powerful Lord is his shield. The Good Shepherd does not lose his sheep. He will not lose your husband.
Sisters, let your hearts rejoice in these truths. Let them free you as you feel the weight of trying to rescue your husband lifted off your shoulders. Let them comfort you as you rest in knowing that God will sanctify your husband. Let them calm your anxiety as you picture the God of the universe guarding your husband against the evil one.
- Christians Get Depressed Too: Hope and Help for Depressed People by David P. Murray on Book Depository (free delivery worldwide – paperback) or on Amazon (paperback or Kindle)
- Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Its Cure by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Book Depository (free delivery worldwide – paperback) or on Amazon (paperback)
- When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God and Joy by John Piper as free PDF download on Book Depository (free delivery worldwide – paperback or audio CD) or on Amazon (paperback, Kindle or audio CD)
- When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy by John Piper as free PDF download or on Book Depository (free delivery worldwide – paperback or audio CD) or on Amazon (paperback, Kindle or MP3 audio CD)
ABOUT THE WRITER
Britney lives in Missouri with her campus missionary husband, Travis, and their blue-eyed baby Ambrielle. Brit is a former dancer who had horse jockey aspirations and played street hockey. Her well-rounded interests also include theology, chocolate, disciple-making, and ballroom dancing. But her favorite thing to talk about is how God breaks into our lives with His grace.