"Auntie Em! Auntie Em!" The wind swirls around Dorothy as a tornado is seen looming ominously in the distance. She frantically runs for the house, as her hair is tossed violently above her head by the strong winds. She can’t find her Aunt inside the house, so she runs through the hurricane force winds to the storm cellar, trying her hardest to pull the doors open. But the winds are too strong, and she is too weak, so she heads back for the house, fights to get the door open, manages to make it inside, only to be walloped over the head, sucked up by the tornado, and dropped in a fairy tale land called Oz. We all love this classic story of Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and my favorite, the Cowardly Lion. All she had to do was "follow the yellow brick road", and she would find her way home.
I got to thinking about storms, and about the preparation that people make when an impending storm is coming. They board up their windows, sandbag their property, stock up on food, water and blankets, or maybe they just high tail it out of there at the first sign of danger, heading for higher ground. The fact is that in marriage, there is always an attack from the enemy, a storm that is threatening to bring torrential rains, gail force winds, and complete destruction. If we are not prepared for these storms, how can we possibly expect to survive them? When we wait until the storm arrives, it is too late. We have already given the enemy a head start, and we are stuck playing catch up trying to board up our windows and nail our doors shut to keep out the pounding rain, and rising floods. Just as Dorothy couldn’t get the door to the storm shelter open because she waited too long, once the storm has come we will be scrambling to mend the breach, strap down all our belongings, and try our hardest to make it through alive. The enemy is always waiting for a prime opportunity to get into your marriage and destroy it. Are you going to let him?
What does it look like when your marriage is being threatened? What would a storm warning look like? Wouldn’t it be great if we had a marriage maintenance report every day? Something like “Uh, oh, looks like we’ll start off the day with disrespect towards one another, followed later today by unkind words, ignored texts, and we’ll finish the day with a knock down, drag out fight. Please take the necessary precautions, as the first wave of the storm will arrive in about 2 hours” Unfortunately we don’t have an Emergency Alert System that pops up whenever danger is on its way in our relationships. However, we have been told in God’s Word that we WILL have trouble. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when.
John 16:33 says “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world”.
In this verse Jesus is promising that we will indeed have troubles, we will have storms, but we can still have peace in the midst of the storm. How can we find this peace? How can we be prepared for these storms that are constantly looming? Truth be told, just like in Dorothy’s case where the tornado is lurking in the background swirling around headed straight for her house, the enemy is waiting, ready to pounce at any given moment. I believe the first step in being prepared for storms is knowing that they ARE coming. We need to know that the Great Deceiver, the Devil wants our marriage to fail. Currently, Christian marriages have about the exact same failure rate as non-Christian marriages, this should not be so! In the Scripture above, Jesus also says He has overcome the world. This means that He has overcome Satan, and He is bigger than the storm that is threatening our marriages. We must constantly be seeking God to find out if there are any cracks or crevices that exist in our marriages, places where discontentment can seep in.
If you’re not prepared for the storm, you will be left vulnerable, an easy target for destruction. Seek God right this moment for protection. Ask Him to surround your marriage, pray that He will give you guidance on how to keep the door securely shut to temptation, and how to truly be an encouragement to your spouse. You are a team that God has brought together, it’s essential that you function as such.
In the hymn “I need Thee every hour” one of my favorite lines is: “Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.” Oh what a true statement. Temptation is waiting around every corner. Temptation to be disrespectful, or even the temptation to find acceptance and love in someone other than your spouse. The only place we are safe from temptation is in Jesus’ presence. He is able to keep us from failing, from falling, and from succumbing to the storm. His power is greater than anything you will face. Our responsibility is to stand for Jesus in our marriages, to stand firm on the promises that He has given us. He has promised to protect us, if we will come to Him for that protection. So, batten down the hatches, load up the storm shelter with everything you need. The storm is coming, and you need to be ready.