I wouldn’t say that I’m an overly stubborn person, but I found myself digging in and not wanting to budge. After months of loss and grief and job searching, I sat across from my counselor and we were both at a loss of ideas. I was doing everything that I could to find work and going above and beyond in the process. Not only was I sending my resume but I was designing entire webpages making the argument of why I was the girl for the job. Winter was setting in, and I was tired of looking for silver linings. My tired eyes didn’t have the wherewithal to search for them for a moment.
I knew deep down that what I wanted to do was get very angry with Jesus because I knew that He could — if He felt like it for a moment, He could make something happen. He could drop some sort of miraculous connection that would lend itself to actual work. And He had. I was getting this string of little freelance gigs that allowed me to buy groceries, but nothing was an actual consistent job. I was fed up and ready to give Him a piece of my mind.
“Okay. Here’s what I need to know,” I said to my therapist. “What do you tell couples when one of them just doesn’t want to be all-in anymore?”
For the record, I am single and have never been married. But for years I have seen my relationship with Jesus as a covenant that is taken more seriously than any other, so the concept makes sense in my head. If I was married and was disappointed in and angry with my husband because he wasn’t meeting my expectations but he hadn’t done anything wrong, what would be the next step? God had provided for me thus far and He’s not a genie, but I desperately wanted Him to be. I wanted Him to make sure I was so comfortable and didn’t have any lack. But that’s not how things work. So I asked the licensed marriage and family therapist what to do.
She was surprised at first, having a single woman ask for marriage advice. But then she said this: “I would tell them to remember what brought them together in the first place. To pay attention to days that weren’t so dark — not to pretend everything is fine but to remember that the darkness doesn’t define the entire relationship.” And then, she said, “It’s important to keep welcoming them in rather than pushing them away. Even when it feels uncomfortable or easier to just deal with it alone. We have to show up and say, ‘I’m in.'”
Psalm 117:2 says, “For His lovingkindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord is everlasting.”
God’s love for us is not passive nor shallow. That word, “lovingkindness,” is translated in Hebrew as a covenantal love that God makes. It is not fickle or fragile but is a committed and eternal love. And if I am living this life with a God like that, it’s something worth fighting for, even in counseling.
All of the relationships that we face are going to be flawed in some way. Either the other person will let us down or hurt us, or we’re going to do that. We cannot pretend that relationships don’t take work. While Jesus brings perfect love and kindness and mercy to the table, He’s also doing it knowing we’re broken humans who get fussy and frustrated. And here’s the wild part: He willingly and with great fervor comes after us and delights in us. Jesus isn’t shocked and disgusted watching us not trust Him. Rather, He shows up, moment after moment, ready to keep moving forward with us to the very end.
There are days I need to walk in faith that He really is close and He really is for my good. But when I reflect on how He has carried me and I see the ways His character reveals that He’s actually here to stay? I am reminded that this whole faith thing — just like anything worth pursuing — isn’t about having a perfect, Instagrammable relationship. It’s about living out a covenant that He joyfully enters into, not out of obligation but because He really meant it when He said, “I’m in.”Leave a Comment