June 12, 2009


He felt like he lived in a pit, troubles beyond count surrounded him, and people wished for his death. Yet, we hear King David in Psalm 40:3 declaring, “you gave me a new song, a song of praise to you. Many will see this, and they will honor and trust you, the LORD God” (CEV). During David's duress the Israelites observed David's authentic relationship with God and then they chose to honor and trust God as well.

Psalm 40:3 impacted my wife Sarah during a life-threatening period.  In 2004, a doctor of oncology diagnosed Sarah with breast cancer.  After praying and getting the best medical advice, Sarah decided that a double mastectomy and reconstruction would best remedy her cancerous condition. Years later her judgment proved correct. However, at the time she did not know if she would live or die, especially since four years earlier her mother died of cancer 3 weeks after the diagnosis.

Hundreds watched Sarah. She did not shake her fist at God and ask “Why me?” Instead she asked, “Why not me?” Then Sarah did the remarkable. Like King David she thanked and praised God, an all-loving and all-powerful God, in the midst of her cancerous condition.

As a family we observed Sarah as she looked forward to her morning time alone with God, enjoyed listening to her praise music, told others of God's goodness, and evidenced throughout the day an inner peace. Sarah caused all of us to examine our hearts: would we trust, thank, praise, and worship God at death's door? From the cards we received, she inspired many to go deeper in their trust and honor of God.

Based on Psalm 40:3 several questions arise that apply to your marriage.

Will you trust God's goodness in the face of unanswered questions? One person wrote, "I realized that this is where I have to trust God. God is good, God is sovereign, God has a plan." Wow! That's not easy to do when life throws us a curve ball.

Will you thank God in anticipation of Him working things together for good in your life though your spouse remains closed off? A wife shared with me about her husband's drug addiction and the devastation his enslavement brought to the marriage. To encourage her, I shared 1 Peter 3:1,2. She replied, "The Lord had led me to that exact passage in scripture when 'I' made my decision not to divorce...It has given me peace, as well as 2 Corinthians 10:5." She then said, "I praise God for a way 'out' of depression and anxiety through His Word to us." Even though her husband did not respond, she praised God for His way out of depression for her.

Will you motivate others, beyond your spouse, to follow God by showing them how to thank and trust God? As one husband gave himself over to God, opening his heart to the Lord in a new and positive way, seeking to love his wife "unto" Christ, spiritual things happened in his children. He wrote, "What you say about my influence on my kids is so true. I have noticed that in trying to show love to my wife, avoiding yelling and anger, and being more encouraging (none of this perfectly though), my kids have responded. I've had more conversations about God and the Bible with my son (the 12 yr old) which is an incredible blessing..."

Friend, your son can place his confidence in God while watching you reverence God and love your wife. Your sister can come back to faith as she observes you praise God while experiencing a demotion, loss of pay, and a rocky marriage. Your wife can open her heart to the Lord as she sees the peace you have with God and feels your loving treatment of her.

As a final thought, let Sarah's words inspire you as they have me. "As I faced my cancer diagnosis, I realized I am here on this earth to represent Christ.  This was a chance of a lifetime.  Would my life reflect him during this time of suffering or would I be no different from the world in my response?  Since I claimed to know Him, would my countenance and my words cause someone to desire him? Would I praise and thank God regardless of the outcome? I felt like God was saying that he wanted those looking on to see his power, his unfailing love, and his faithfulness.  I believed that he had been preparing me ‘for such a time as this.’ I felt humbled that He had chosen me to be a spokesperson on his behalf.   It was my time to step to the microphone."

You may not have cancer but nonetheless a disease is eating away your marriage. Is God handing you a mic for such a time as this?

Go ahead, I know you can step to the microphone.

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