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A Strange Encouragement

study note

I had an unexpected encouragement this week I’d like to share with you.

I was searching for a Bible study on Jeremiah amongst the collection of notes amassed on top of my bookcase. I didn’t find the book I wanted but bumped into another study from Jeremiah on the topic of endurance.

Like many Bible studies, it starts with a general question to facilitate discussion:  Complete this sentence: What I find hardest to endure is __________ because ____________. 

I completed the study over 20 years ago. At the time we were living on the Gold Coast with three small kids and I was working rotating shifts. Life was full. My answer: What I find hardest to endure is marriage ups and downs because we don’t seem to be able to control them and they have a large effect on other areas of our life, kids, happiness etc.  

Now that may read like an unusual encouragement, but here’s why I was buoyed;

Firstly, it reminded me that marriage ups and downs are pretty normal, and we shouldn’t despair if they come our way again. There were moments of intense conflict, but we made it through.

Secondly, I wouldn’t write that sentence today. It’s taken a long time, but Anna and I, along with our relationship, have matured. There’s hope. God is good.

Thirdly, endurance in marriage is worth the effort. If I had tossed my hands in the air and said, ‘It’s all too hard. I can’t live like this. I’m out!’, today my life would be impoverished.

We have endured. God has been gracious. I’m so encouraged.