Posted by: Derek Guyer | November 2, 2011

Love Hopes All Things


Over the last three years, I’ve spent a large amount in the woods bow-hunting. Growing up as a child, I never really had the opportunity to do this and so hunting deer has become a true passion for me. Interestingly enough, that time alone in the woods has increasingly become more about enjoying the presence of Father in the world He created than ever about killing a deer. This has taken me deeper into my love for Him and I find myself aching for the woods to just have a few hours to be still with Him.

While I have deeply enjoyed His presence, I will admit that my times in the woods have been very disappointing. I have found myself irritated repeatedly. I’ve worked so hard and learned so much about myself. I’ve disciplined myself and my mind and body to do things I’ve never done before. But, the realities of having no deer so far has been discouraging. I am discouraged from many sides, but I think the greatest of my disappointments is that my family has been so gracious with me as I try to get a deer and I still have nothing to show for it. They wait at home while I hunt and pray for me to be successful and for me to enjoy the presence of God. Their prayers about the presence of God have been answered abundantly. But, not about the deer.

Sitting in the woods, I find myself constantly going over the advice of different trusted hunters across the country. But last week, I sat going chewing on the advice of Steve. Steve is the husband of a marriage we’ve been helping recently and is an experienced and very talented bow-hunter. I had called him the night before in hopes of getting some advice about hunting in the rain and strong winds that had been forecasted. I told him the conditions and he encouraged me into the woods with specific terms of the hunt.

As I sat in the woods the next morning, the wind and rain were beating my face and I was miserably cold and wet. I was doing everything I was told to do and there were no deer around me. I was working and working to get something and quickly began losing heart. I sat there wanting to quit and get out of the woods and began praying for God to fill me with His presence so that I could enjoy the morning no matter how hard it was on me. For a reason unbeknownst to me at the time, I began thinking about all of the spouses we had been helping who were fighting for their marriages. I began thinking of their despair and discouragement and how many phone calls I had received where they wanted to quit.

All of the sudden, it all clicked. I realized what God was telling me as I sat there shivering. He was telling me that I was like them as I sat there in the woods. I was struggling and fighting my own selfish desires to quit and had been for a long time, but was seemingly achieving nothing. I was wrong, though. I was learning patience and trust. I was leaning on Him for strength to make it through some unbearably cold moments where body parts were going numb. I was losing heart.

I know some of you are feeling all of that now in your marriage. You grow discouraged because you want to see your spouse reconciled to Christ and reconciled to you. You want them to be free from sin and are anxious to enjoy the fruit of living with Christ together. But, they refuse to accept the hope offered in Christ. They disobey and turn further away. This creates a loneliness that is challenging to describe with words. After a while, it creates apathy and you lose heart.

I’ve been there. I was hurt by the betrayal, the negligence, the doubts, and constantly lived in incredible fear  and shame. Most everything I just described about sitting alone in the woods waiting for deer is something I experienced while fighting for Lisa.

It’s easy to allow the discouragements of present circumstances to cloud our vision of Christ and His incredible glory. We become so fixated on the pain and a quick cure for that pain that we lose heart and begin fighting for something that is unattainable. Our minds are so busy worrying about the waves crashing into the boat, that we can’t see Jesus on the water. We’re so worried about the next big wave that will capsize the boat, that we never get out of the boat to walk to Jesus on the water. What a shame!

As I look back through that story of Peter walking to Jesus on the water I often wonder what the other disciples had to think after they saw Peter do the impossible there on the water. Were they jealous? Were they in awe? How quickly did they ask him what it was like on top of the water like that? I have no idea. But, I’ve been there on the waves. I’ve walked to Jesus on the water in my own life. I’ve seen the fruit of an obedience that perseveres. Today, I have a virtuous wife as a result of His amazing grace that drew me out onto the water.

You can walk there as well. You can walk with Jesus in enjoy the fruit of the Spirit if you so choose. But, it’s up to you. You have the power of choice. Continue loving your spouse against the odds or quit and move on? Sit in the boat or walk on the water? Keep going into the woods and persevering or quit in defeat?

I’m happy to say that Jesus has never given up on me. In the midst of the beatings and mocking, He allowed love to guide Him all of the way to the cross. He persevered for my sake. That same love is what pushed me to keep fighting for Lisa. It’s the love of Christ.

Don’t allow the waves to kill the love that Christ has given you. Keep your hope alive. Allow those challenges, fears, and frustrations to push you further into the love of Christ. Allow them to save  your heart, your marriage, and your life. You’ll never regret having loved to the end because that love will be your opportunity to live Christ.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:!6 NIV

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Derek, I’m not going to thank you for writing this post because you didn’t write it. Last night God led me to it and it was like reading a love letter straight from heaven and just for me, I read it through tears and cried for an hour after reading it. I was in so much despair over my family situation that I couldn’t see Jesus any more and this is just what I needed. I almost feel like you went through this just for me. It’s made me see that my suffering right now isn’t without a purpose as well.

    Instead of thanking you, I asked God instead that you will finally be successful in finding yourself a deer. Good luck!!

  2. Lauren, you made my day! Lisa and I have talked frequently about our posts and wondering how they affect others lives. We see there are consistent hits on the site, but rarely do those hits turn into contact. That’s perfectly fine. It’s a great encouragement to know that the Spirit is clearly speaking truths through us (me) to help you and others, though. I’m so blessed to hear and read this. I pray I get a deer as well, but more importantly, I pray you live for the glory of God, but pray you keep your hope in Christ as He works in your and everyone else around you for His glory. Be still. We love you as only God’s people can.

  3. Thanks Derek. Before I came to Christ I did a LOT of research on the internet, and looked at many websites and God used many people to lead me to Him but I never thanked any of those people who wrote down the words that impacted me bit by bit. It was a sentence here, a paragraph there… each step giving me insight and leading me. Just because you don’t hear from people, doesn’t mean that God isn’t using your words. It may be just a section of what you write in a moment of someone’s journey that helps them on their way.

  4. PS The verse with “love hopes all things” in it is hanging on my kitchen wall.

    • That’s beautiful, Lauren. Thank you for sharing as we share.

      “Freely you have received. Freely give.” -Jesus


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: