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Symphony of Survival in the Key of C, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
February 23, 2022 7:05 am

Symphony of Survival in the Key of C, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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February 23, 2022 7:05 am

Marriage: From Surviving to Thriving

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Today, from Chuck Swindoll, a marriage can survive the harshest consequences.

You may find yourself in the backwash of a set of circumstances the person sitting next to you would never believe. You may carry with you painful and deep scars from abuse and mistreatment. You may have not seen a model of a marriage.

Harsh consequences follow. Marriage can survive that. Marriages that have endured the test of time can surely tell stories about their personal missteps.

Some of those stories are entertaining, some are embarrassing, and many are, well, magic. But through it all, the couples that stick together have one thing in common. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll will identify that particular virtue, and he'll help us understand how to cultivate it. Whether you're married, single, divorced, or widowed, there's something for everyone, and the message will resume right now.

Chuck titled it Symphony of Survival in the Key of Sea. All of this brings up four questions that I think are, they have to be asked. They are crucial questions that any thinking person would ask. The first is a question of relevance. Are biblical principles still relevant? The second question is a question of harmony. Can two very different people make it work?

When a man and a woman come together in a marriage, immediately there's a challenge. Cynthia and I were having dinner and simple little meal at a restaurant, and a waitress, she was so friendly, came by and said, well, you two look like you're getting along great. I said, yeah, we've been getting along great for over 40 years. This was several years ago. She said, you're kidding. I said, no. She said, and she called her names, several waitresses, come here, come here. And they all stood there and applaud.

It's like, good. I mean, all we've done is stuck it out. We don't see that.

We haven't seen anybody married for 40 plus years. Why? Because you're so different. There's so many situations that, you know, it's better to try again. The answer is two very different people can make it work, hard work. The best you can do is a reasonably good marriage, but you can do that by the grace of God. Opposites do attract. The principle holds true.

The third question, it's a question of permanence. Does a sinful nature destroy a lasting relationship? Does a sinful nature destroy a lasting relationship? Well, you know, Adam and Eve put together by God, brought together by God, begun by God. God officiates at their wedding and then it isn't long before sin encroaches and not just encroaches, but invades and corrupts the relationship. And then you find them running and hiding and covering and excusing and blaming and all of the stuff that goes with sinfulness. But you don't find them breaking up. As we're going to see, they got a son that turns against the sun and he murders him, but they don't break up. And of all things, they have another child and even more who aren't even named in scripture and they don't divorce.

Yeah, it can survive. It's hard work. It's the hardest work you'll do on the planet. You can run three businesses either easier than handle a harmonious home. Running a church is nothing compared to sustaining a happy home and a good marriage. It's the hardest work we do.

There's a fourth question. It's a question of intimacy. Is it shameful to enjoy marital intimacy? Some people who get very, very spiritual begin to say that kind of thing. The more I love God, the less I want to be that interested in sexual relations with my partner. I've always found that a strange response. Adam and Eve enjoyed it in innocence and they began having children and even in their sinful condition, they enjoyed the harmony or the intimacy of their lives and it continues on with the bearing of more of more children.

I like the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases First Corinthians seven, just a section. Is it a good thing to have sexual relations? Certainly, but only within a certain context. It's good for a man to have a wife and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality.

The husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to stand up for your rights. Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out.

Isn't that a good line? Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it and if it's for the purpose of prayer and fasting, but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. The most delightful hours in a marriage can be the most intimate times, even with a sinful nature and without shame if there's that sense of mutuality, respect for one another. Interestingly, in all of these changes, the marriage survived for Adam and Eve. Look at the odds against them. They're married by God in a context of perfection, and it isn't long before they both sin and the fall has incredible ramifications.

Their perfect environment stops. Both of them are cursed. She with the pain of childbearing, he with working by the sweat of his brow, the ground itself is cursed with thorns and thistles. And then they're driven from their home at the end of chapter three of Genesis. And so they're homeless.

The beautiful garden that they have been enjoying is no longer theirs to enjoy. Land is hard and the life is rough and relationships are strained, but they make it. They make it. They stay together though there's a scandal in their home as Cain murders his brother, of all things. And they have another child and then more. They stay together through it.

You know what that teaches us? There's a great statement I want to add to the Adam and Eve marriage. A marriage can survive the harshest consequences. It can survive the harshest consequences. You may find yourself in the backwash of a set of circumstances, the person sitting next to you would never believe harsh circumstances, harsh situation. You may carry with you painful and deep scars from abuse and mistreatment, the heartache of the sinful world.

You may have had a horrific set of parents who cared nothing for you. You may have not seen a model of a marriage. So you even know where to start. Harsh consequences follow.

A marriage can survive that and it isn't easy. I want to jump from Adam and Eve to a couple in the middle of the days of the prophets. His name is Hosea. I'm going to watch little dust pockets pop up from the Bibles as you find your way to Hosea, just before the book of Joel, which is just before Amos.

No help, huh? Look on next to you, Hosea. Let me tell you where we are.

We're going centuries ahead in time. The nation Israel is divided, now pay attention, this is important, into two kingdoms, the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom. Northern is called Israel and the southern is called Judah. There's not a godly king in the northern kingdom, but of all things there are prophets that are to live during that spiritually decadent time and Hosea is one of them. Concurrently there is the Judah that's going on. It's in its history as well, but God now uses Hosea as a model. He uses his marriage as an object lesson to the spiritual decay of the people.

They are spiritually adulterous. They're following idols and so the Lord chooses to use Hosea as not only his words and writings, but his marriage as an object lesson to get the attention of the people of Israel. Look at verse 2 of chapter 1. When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, go take to yourself a wife of harlotry.

Just pause there and imagine. She's a prostitute and he's to marry her and they're to have children in the midst of this harlotry, this adulterous generation. Verse 3, he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim and she conceived and bore him a son named him Jezreel. Verse 6, she conceived again gave birth to a daughter. The Lord gave them a name for the daughter. Verse 8, when she had weaned the daughter, she conceived and gave birth to a son. So we got a boy and a girl and a boy sort of back to back in this horrible era, even to name their children some of the characteristics of their times. And she splits.

She heads for the street. He's left a single parent to rear the children with all of those demands. And he's a prophet with all of the embarrassment. And we have a preacher friend who calls this story a scandal in the parsonage. I mean, here's a prophet with a wife living on the street.

If that's not bad enough, look at chapter 3 of Hosea. Then the Lord said to me, go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulterous, even as the Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods. Verse 2, so I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a whole more than a half of barley. He buys her back. And look at what he says to her. You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot nor shall you have a man. So I will also be toward you. Wow.

I pause, though we haven't much time here, I pause to let that sink in. Hosea 9 9 says the nation has gone deep into depravity. And here is a, here is a husband-wife relationship that's to carry out before the people what it is like for God to love a people of spiritual adultery. Just as God loves the idolaters so, Hosea, you're to love your wife. Take her back. Buy her from the street.

Live with her as a mate. Brings up the principle of marriage can overcome the most extreme challenges, the most extreme challenges. Maybe you've gone through unfaithfulness with your partner.

I don't know. Maybe you've known the embarrassment of that being found out and the public hearing about it and feeling the rejection and the horror of all that goes with that. You may have gone through some other extreme challenges as a couple. A marriage can survive it for the grace of God.

It can overcome the most extreme challenges. The third one is tucked away in the first chapter of Matthew. And you remember this one. The Hosea Gomer may not be a familiar story, but Mary and Joseph?

Yeah, I think so. The couple is betrothed. That means they're legally engaged, which means if there's going to be a break in the engagement, it's got to be a legal divorce. Verse 18 says that Mary was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. The problem is Joseph didn't know anything about it. When she finally did tell him, Joseph listened, blinked, and thought, you are pregnant?

First response is a natural response. Verse 19, being a righteous man, not wanting to disgrace her, decided to send her away privately, secretly. But when he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife for the child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will save his people from their sins.

It's the great Christmas story, isn't it? Now, all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet. The virgin shall be with child and bear a son. Verse 24, Joseph awoke and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife. I mean, could you imagine the gossip in the neighborhood?

Everybody can count to nine. She shows up in maternity clothes really early on. I mean, it follows him like a snake all of his life when he's an adult. There are these who hate him, saying, we know who our father is, implying you illegitimate. You know, the hero in the story is Joseph. I mean, Joseph marries her, doesn't touch her. Verse 25, he kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a son. That is quite a man, I tell you.

You know why? Because a marriage can endure the strangest of circumstances. A marriage can endure it. That's a third principle I want you to remember. And I know if we listen to all of you, you all have stories you could tell of the strangest of circumstances you've survived. Now, I want to make a disclaimer here, because some of you are really now believing I'm a dinosaur.

So let me let me get on the same level with you. I don't want to be overbearing regarding any of this. I want to be biblical to the core, but I also want to be realistic. There are times when divorce is permitted. There are times when the body of Christ needs to accept that, face it, and lovingly move through it. There are times when for the sake of your safety, you need to get away from a partner that would kill you or beat you mercilessly if he could. I realize that everything can be spun in a certain manner from a pulpit, making an unbearable situation seem oversimplified.

I don't want to do that. I live in the very real world. I've been in ministry over 40 years. I've helped a lot of folks going through terrible times. My heart has been broken more times than I can count when I have witnessed situations where if there hadn't been a break, it would have been disastrous. But it's the exception.

My message is all about that being the exception. It's all about from now on with you, okay? I don't want you to jump into it ahead of time. I read somewhere that two procedures should never be entered into prematurely, divorce and embalming. That's good advice. You don't want to squirt that stuff in his veins before he's gone.

That's kind of a harsh way to put it, but you don't want to jump in. Okay, okay, right now, yes, divorce. I'm out of here.

Wait, wait, stop. Is that what God wants? And I'm pleading for your marriage. Is that what God wants? Is that within the framework of what God has provided and given for you? You justify that biblically. Step up to that. These are principles that I want you to see in all that Adam and Eve withstood, all that Jose and Gomer went through, all that Joseph and Mary went through. I just want you to see the principles. Give it a chance.

Give it your best, best shot. Every couple I know has had reason to really reconsider, should I have gotten into this? It's a reasonably good marriage, and there's something about lasting that gives a message to your kids that is very, very healthy in most occasions, not all.

Now, a couple of closing comments. If marriage is going to survive, commitment is the key. That's the key you play in. I am committed. I know it went sour.

I know this has happened. I know these times are such and such, but I am committed to this relationship. It isn't a little pattering of the heart under a moonlit night in Hawaii. It isn't a lovely little ceremony where you say, I do. That won't hold your marriage together. It isn't wonderful vows that you write and say them in British English.

It isn't that. That will hold no marriage together. It is the gut-level commitment that says, no matter what, I'm in here. I'm there. I'm staying. And then if you cannot at that point, and you can find the justification of the Scriptures, then you cannot. Give it a chance. If any marriage is going to survive, commitment is the key.

Here's the second one. If commitment is the key, Christ is the lock. Christ is the lock. I'm amazed that any unsaved marriage stays together. Many of them do. I'm amazed that a lot worse doesn't happen to those without Christ. We don't have a lot better record than they do, by the way.

So before we get stuffy about it, check the figures. His presence in our lives, His power at work, His prevailing encouragement, His compassion so that we forgive, really forgive, a partner who's really blown it, just really forgives them. I got this letter from a lady who had heard me speak on commitment several years ago. I've decided to remain steadfast in commitment to my own marriage that was in the middle of a divorce action. God has changed me. He has given me a new love for my husband, and in turn my husband has been changing in his attitude toward me. He's still uncommitted about his relationship with Jesus, a miracle I am anticipating. Six months ago, we sat and listened to a non-Christian counselor tell us to get on with the divorce because there was absolutely nothing left in our marriage and no basis upon which to build.

Well, God's grace has allowed the contrary. It's still a real struggle some days, but I've learned that as we pull toward each other rather than push at each other, the direction is more secure and sound. So commitment is not just another word in my vocabulary. It's become a real part of my life. And it starts with Christ.

It really does. I'd like you to bow with me, please. There's never been a time in your life when you have said to the Lord Jesus Christ, I need you. I believe in you. I accept you.

Your death on my behalf. I am lost and you're able to save me. I come to you now, Lord Jesus Christ, and I trust you for eternal salvation. Thank you for coming into my life. We have very qualified counselors who will talk straight with you about salvation.

Invite you to come today. Thank you, Father, for this great symphony which is played on year after year. Thank you for my parents who stuck it out.

Thank you for Cynthia's parents who stuck it out. Thank you for most of these who were hanging in there through difficult children, hardship, bankruptcy, heartbreak, tragedy, disappointment, perhaps even adultery. Through the pain and heartache that sin brings, thank you for giving us grace to make it. May only good come from this, not confusion. May strength come from this, not weakness.

May commitment emerge where there has been compromise. And we will give you the glory. Through Jesus Christ, we pray everybody sin. Amen. You're listening to Insight for Living and the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll. He titled today's message, Symphony of Survival in the Key of Sea. And to learn more about this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. Right now I'm pleased to tell you about an engaging resource from Chuck Swindoll. It's a daily devotional that contains more than enough chapters to take you through the entire year of 2022. Titled Wisdom for the Way, this deluxe leather soft edition features daily reflections on topics such as dealing with discontentment, stopping personal character, and finding purpose in your job. Plus, the book includes thought-provoking questions and space for writing your personal thoughts.

To purchase a copy right now, go to insight.org slash offer. Or call us if you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. In the last several weeks, we've heard from thousands of friends from all around the world who've affirmed the value of these daily visits with Chuck. Many have told us that they can trace their listening back 10, 20, 30 years and more. It's wonderful to see what God has accomplished through this legacy of God's faithfulness. What began on a handful of stations in 1979 has now grown to more than 2,000 stations worldwide.

And the program is translated into multiple languages as well. And it's because people like you have stood by our side. We believe the best days are yet ahead as we deepen our friendship with partners like you. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. Or give a donation online at insight.org slash donate.

What's the secret ingredient for making a marriage stick? Hear Chuck Swindoll's answer Thursday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Symphony of Survival in the Key of C, was copyrighted in 2004, 2006, and 2022. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-01 13:35:50 / 2023-06-01 13:44:39 / 9

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