My husband kissed the kids, kissed me, and walked toward the turnstile gates. I watched in the dark hours of morning holding back tears, as my husband walked away from us with the knowledge that it would be the last time I would see him for seemingly forever. We would spend the next six-plus months talking over out of order emails and in-port phone calls. I would spend the next six-plus months caring for our children by myself. This was a common occurrence, but only twice did we separate for that long. Not everyone has that experience, however, everyone has experienced some kind of trial or hardship in their lives. Being a military wife, I am used to living life apart from my spouse. Nonetheless, marriage is meant to be lived together, not apart. Yet I often found myself feeling like a single parent. Not exactly how I pictured married life to be. Everything was on me and there is no relief coming through the door at the end of the day. The biblical reality is that man was not meant to live alone (Genesis 2:18). Men need women and women need men.
So what do you do when your husband is at unknowable depths in the ocean for months at a time? Where do you find stability and joy in the midst of any hardship? Luckily, the answer is not complicated. We simply need to be reminded of it. The answer to every situation is Christ and the gospel. When circumstances are not ideal, or I am just feeling down, I preach the gospel to myself. The way I’m reminded of Christ and the gospel is first through Scripture reading and second through the ministry of the local church. We need to saturate ourselves with the Word of God so in times of trouble and heartache, the Holy Spirit can remind us of what the Bible says. After all, that is His job:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”John 14:26
The Holy Spirit is here to help remind us of what Christ has already said. He is there to bring comfort to us through God’s word. That is why knowing God’s word must become a priority for every Christian. Whether you are in the middle of hardship now, or not, we must study God’s word and remember it. Therefore, when trouble comes we have the Word in our mind and hearts. We have the Scriptures as the unchanging, inherent, infallible Word of God to fall on.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”Isaiah 40:8
The second key to enduring hardship is the local church. We need the church to encourage us to go to God’s word for comfort and stability. Christians are there to have the message of Christ dwelling richly within them and admonish one another with wisdom through psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Colossians 3:16 paraphrase). As Christians in the local church live this verse out, our hearts will be encouraged to look to Christ and to His word for comfort and encouragement. The church also helps remind us of God’s great love and sacrifice to make a people for himself. That is why it is necessary, wherever you are, to find a church family immediately. Find a church that takes the word of God seriously and preaches the gospel faithfully. Then jump right in and don’t waste any time.
Rachel is a wife and mother of four young children. She has a love for listening to expository preaching, theology, and doctrine. She desires to make Christ known through her marriage, parenting, and in every word and deed.