I needed it to be dead-dead. That’s what I heard in my spirit. I knew it was the answer to a question I’d been asking the Lord about my marriage—more specifically, the undoing of it. My marriage had been lifeless for years, but “dead-dead?” What did He mean?
If you read last week’s blog post, you know my marriage was headed for divorce. The demise of our union had been years in the making with too many wrongs to overcome. But God.
To be completely honest, when I say I’d been asking the Lord a question about my marriage, what I really mean is I’d been accusing Him of failing me. I sounded like Lazarus’ sister, Martha, when he fell ill and died. She sent word to Jesus that Lazarus’ condition had turned critical, begging Jesus to act quickly. Yet, according to the story in John 11, Jesus stayed where he was for two more days. Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days when Jesus finally arrived. In other words, he was “dead-dead.” And so seemed my marriage. Could that really be what God intended?
Full of disappointment and heartbreak, Martha and I both started our accusations the same, “If only You would have…”
Have you been there? If only the Lord had done something sooner. If only He would do something now. I never would have chosen these lonely nights tossing on my tear-soaked pillow or disappointing my children and having our family torn apart. Why did it have to come to this? Why did He wait and let things go this far? Like Martha, I’d sent word that the end was near unless He intervened. For me, it had been years, not days, of heartache coupled with desperate cries for help.
I had prayed, sought wise counsel and scoured God’s word, determined to save my marriage. I’d even found encouragement in Lazarus’ story—declaring and holding on to the truth that if God could resurrect Lazarus, He could resurrect my marriage too. But here’s what I’d missed that the Lord was showing me now.
Resurrection is for things that are completely dead, meaning something must be all the way dead— “dead-dead”—not just dying, in order to receive a resurrection miracle.
God’s miracles are not simply about solving our problems and helping us escape our pain. He desires to reveal Himself more personally and completely to us, while drawing us closer, and so that He ultimately receives all the glory. He’s the only one who knows what it takes to accomplish that.
“… it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”
John 11:4, NLT
Bringing newness out of death is the Lord’s way—both literally and figuratively. It started in the old testament and hasn’t stopped. Death gets rid of the old and makes way for the new. It makes room for God to do things only He can do, because He’s the only one who knows and fully understands the problems as well as how to fulfill His purposes in each of us and our husbands.
I’m not suggesting that you open the door to divorce, like I did. But I am asking you to consider whether there are things that need to die, and places you need to make room for God to move in ways only He can.
Are there patterns of thinking or behaviors you need to let go of? Expectations you’ve placed on your marriage or your husband? Is something from your past affecting your marriage? Or maybe you’ve submitted your plan to the Lord for what needs to happen in your marriage so you’ll be happy and satisfied.
I don’t know what thing the Lord wants to be “dead-dead” for you and your marriage. But I do know that death is inherent to life with Jesus. He is the only One who overcomes death. Giving Him all control allows Him to be the miracle-working God He longs to be in your life and marriage.
Will you give Him room to work? Ask the Lord to show you what needs to die so He can resurrect it with His life.
I’d taken the role of Junior Holy Spirit in my marriage for a very long time. I thought I knew exactly what was wrong with my husband and how to fix him. The Lord wanted no part in my plans.
He wanted to give us more than I could ever have asked or imagined. He wanted no mistaking that this miracle was His doing. For that, He needed my marriage to be dead-dead—which meant I was finally giving up control so He could fully move in. None of this looked the way I would have chosen or expected, yet I never could have imagined the amazing miracle marriage God is building or the love He is growing.
24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.
John 12:24, NLT, emphasis added
May I pray for you: Father, I ask for a resurrection miracle in my sister’s marriage. Thank you that You are the resurrection and the life. Show her the areas in her marriage that need to die so that You can bring new life to them. Strengthen her along this journey. Fill her with the hope that You are able to do immeasurably more than she could ever ask or imagine according to Your glorious power at work within her. In Jesus’ name. Amen.