One of the Bible’s under-appreciated themes is the dozens of different ways he speaks. God’s will is found through a burning bush, out of bright lights, from the heavens, through random strangers, via angels, and – my favorite – via Balaam’s ass (for those of you who roll KJV-only). The only predictable element in discovering God’s will is its unpredictably.
I love and am frustrated by this, in equal parts. On one hand, I love that God is imaginative, creative, and unpredictable. I love that God is not a formula to be figured out, but a living, breathing, relational God who wants to be known. On the other hand, when it comes to discovering God’s will, I kind of wish … well I wish he was more of a formula sometimes. While that’s never going to be the case, I do think we can look at the examples of how God’s will is revealed in the Bible, and learn from the common themes, and one of those common themes is this: the way in which God speaks, requires humility to hear.
WHY GOD SPEAKS THROUGH OUR SPOUSE
I’ve noticed recently that one of the primary ways God speaks to me is through my wife, both in small, everyday, character formation details, and in big “what direction is my life heading in?” ways. Just last night, I shared with Christina a conversation I had with someone, and how that conversation made me consider stepping back into full time pastoral ministry. Christina’s response was that she had felt the same for the past few days. As she talked through what she’d been feeling, I sensed God speaking clearly to me.
It made me wonder how often God’s will is being revealed through my spouse, but I’m too prideful to listen.
One of the struggles I have – and I’m sure I’m the only one who deals with this – is pride. I don’t like being told what to do. I like to have all the answers. I want to be the first to know things. And I bring this ugly part of my character into both my relationship with God, and my marriage, which I am guessing keeps me from discovering God’s will quite a bit.
God describes marriage as a physical, spiritual, emotional, and relational oneness. In Genesis 1 we the Triune God – saying “let us make humans in our image” – create both man and woman, and them being one flesh. I’ve long felt as though a part of the marriage experience is us reflecting a tiny bit of the Trinity, where two people are both separate and yet becoming one.
And when you think about the fall of humanity in Genesis 3, you see there’s a spiritual interconnectedness between Adam and Eve. Adam is with Eve when she eats the fruit, and their sin has a profound scarring on their ability to trust each other, and be vulnerable with God. But if Jesus’s death and resurrection is – in part – about undoing the curse and God’s original plan for our lives being restored, then a huge part of that is a spiritual connectedness with our husband or wife.
HOW TO FIND GOD’S WILL IN YOUR MARRIAGE
So the question is, are we creating space in our marriage to discover God’s will? Are we praying together? Talking about our future? Lowering our walls and discussing our spiritual struggles and wounds and hopes? Are we asking our spouse what they think about important decisions we’re making?
We are told in Genesis that God created our wife to be an ezer, which is often translated “helper” or “helpmeet,” but that same word is primarily used in the Old Testament to describe God being the “helper” of Israel. In other words, husbands, your wife doesn’t exist to serve you, or be subordinate with you, but to be a co-equal in Christ. Are you listening to your wife? And women, are you listening to your husband? Are you living in mutual submission, serving each other, caring for each other, and inviting the presence of God in your marriage?
What’s been fascinating in my marriage is how God’s will seems to emerge not out of forced or planned moments, but in the natural flow of a marriage where we are both pursuing God’s best. In this rhythm, hearing God’s will isn’t some formulaic process, but an organic relational inclusion of God into a marriage.