For fifteen years, Gail had been praying for her unsaved husband, Jason. Like many of us who pray for a change in our husbands, she was tired of waiting. She felt like God wasn’t listening and often wondered, “Why doesn’t God just zap him with a mighty dose of the Holy Spirit?”
There were times Gail thought of running away. Even though God blessed her with many wonderful friends, there was a loneliness she thought she couldn’t bear.
Gail tried many things to bring Jason to the Lord. She left 3 x 5 cards with Bible verses all around the house—on the refrigerator, on every light switch, on every mirror, on the back of both toilets–and in their cars. She bought books and tapes at seminars. With the books, she strategically placed them on a coffee table open to the page she wanted him to read. With the cassette tapes, she would cue them up and put them in the car, so when her husband turned on the car, God’s truth would reach him.
When God didn’t answer her prayer, she would sometimes slip into thinking, It must be all my fault. I’m so far from being a Proverbs 31 woman.
One evening a breakthrough came for Gail as she sat in church sobbing.
“Why am I crying?” she asked God.
He revealed to her this truth: “You always have to have control.”
Gail was stunned because she had seen herself as a compliant person, a people-pleaser, and considerate of all authorities, especially the Lord.
“Well, Lord, what do you want me to do?” she called out.
In a clear way He said, “There you go again, Gail. It’s not what I want you to do. Just be still and know that I am God” (See Psalm 46:10)
That night Gail admitted she was trying to be in control. She wanted to control her circum-
stances and everyone in her life.
She admitted that she wasn’t trusting the Lord with her husband’s salvation.
Gail’s husband came to know the Lord as his Savior, but there are plenty of other women who are still waiting for that to happen. Gail would say to them: “Do what God told me to do: ‘Be still and know that I am God’ and trust Him—no matter how long your time of waiting is.”
Even though God corrected Gail that evening, over her years of waiting for her husband to change, she had developed a virtue that kept her praying for him instead of leaving him or withdrawing love from him. Patience.
Many times in my adult life I’ve prayed, “Lord, make me patient,” which some say is a dangerous prayer. I didn’t realize early on that we develop patience through trials.
James 1:2-3 does apply to marriage: “Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort…Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring about endurance and steadfastness and patience” (AMPC).
When I looked up “patient” in the dictionary I read: “bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint; manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain; steadfast despite opposition, difficulty or adversity.”
I saw those statements as goals. Although I’ve come a long way, I still haven’t fully arrived at being a patient wife.
I don’t think it’s arbitrary or coincidental that God started out the love verses in 1 Corinthians 13 with “Love is patient” (verse 4). The longer I’m on planet earth, the more I see that love and waiting are tied together. So often I’ve prayed what David prayed in the Psalms–“How long, O Lord?” (Psalm 13:1) as I’ve prayed for my husband to change and/or draw closer to the Lord.
Recently I heard a song that gave the message of “How long, O Lord, before I become like Jesus.” As I have embraced patience toward my husband, I thank God that He is patient with me. My goal is to embrace what I saw on a sign at a local church: “Be as patient with others as God is with you.”
Gail related that the times she felt weary of waiting were when she was trying to run the universe—or at least her little corner of it. So the problem isn’t the waiting, but the way in which we wait.
As part of our prayers in times of waiting and crying out to God in regard to our marriages, we can incorporate this verse from Scripture:
“May the Lord direct your hearts into [realizing and showing] the love of God and into the steadfastness and patience of Christ…” 2 Thessalonians 3:5 AMPC.
Note: Gail’s story is true, but the names have been changed. I pray for God to give you grace to wait as He works a miracle in your marriage in His way and time.