HOW COULD YOU? I thought for the thousandth time in recent days. Hiding my panic beneath anger, I glared at my husband, Steve, who was driving.
It was only one time,” he had insisted. Still his unfaithfulness — his adultery! — crushed me.
All my dreams for our marriage lay crumbled. Steve was to be the person who could love me perfectly — the way I had wanted my parents to love me. Now his “I love you’s” seemed like lies.
“What are you thinking about?” Steve asked. He reached for my hand. I ignored him for many miles and finally spoke.
I shouldn’t be here,” I said. “There’s no hope for us.”
Steve thought a moment, then asked, “What about Jesus? You talk about Him a lot. Can’t He save this marriage?”
Suddenly I thought of Norma. It was three years earlier, and we sat in my dorm room at nursing school. I poured out my problems to her and blew the smoke from my cigarette into the window fan, so I wouldn’t get caught. She, too, asked, “What about Jesus?”
“I already know Jesus,” I said. “I go to church every week.”
“Then why are you turning to cigarettes, alcohol, and weekends with Steve rather than to Him?” she said tenderly.
“I’m trying hard to live the Christian life,” I insisted. Then Norma brought out her Bible. (It wasn’t the first time) As I lit another cigarette, she read verses like these:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith…it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
I could almost hear her gentle voice reading those verses again. Back then, they were words. Now, packages of hope.
TURN TO JESUS, ELAINE. REALLY TURN TO HIM, I could imagine Norma saying again. I had turned to Steve rather than Jesus to be my savior. I wanted Steve to heal the hurts of my childhood. Instead he added to them. My heart longed for a love that would not fail me. Could Jesus be the key to that love?
So on that rainy day, somewhere on I-75 on our way from Illinois to Florida, minutes after Steve asked me, “What about Jesus?” I opened my heart to Him. I gave Him the mess I’d made trying to fix my life. I gave Him all my sins and faults, and I asked that He alone be my Savior. I said “yes” to Him and at the same time “yes” to Steve’s second question. It wasn’t something I felt; it was something I knew. “Yes, He can save this marriage.” I took Steve’s hand.
When we got to Florida, I told Steve of my decision and made it public, “walking the aisle” at my in-laws’ church. I asked Steve to come to church with me, but he refused. He said he’d “accepted Christ” at 13, but once again he insisted he was finished with organized religion. I remembered hearing of negative experiences in the church he’d attended.
At the altar, I asked Jesus to heal our marriage and teach me to love Steve. There I saw I’d been so consumed with Steve loving me that I had failed to see how demanding and unloving I had become. I confessed to God that I had chased Steve into the arms of another woman.
Change hasn’t happened overnight, but bit by bit over the 24 years since then, God has been healing my broken heart and drawing Steve and me closer to each other and to Him than we ever imagined possible. Within several years, Steve came back to church and rededicated his life to the Lord.
Jesus has given me the perfect love I craved. The more I seek Him and seek to be like Him, through prayer and embracing His Word, the more real His love is to me. I wish I could find Norma and let her know. Jesus has also given me great love for my parents, who I now realize did the best they could raising eight children.
Sometimes I still turn to Steve wanting him to finish fixing me. God has to remind me that Jesus alone fills the role of Savior. I am learning instead to turn with wonder to the love of a Savior who could die on a cross to save me. Wonder at a love that will never fail me.
The above story was first published in the March/April 1998 issue of MOODY magazine.
©1998 Elaine Creasman
Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version, copyright c 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
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What about you? Are you looking for a love that will not fail? Have you been let down by your mother, your father, your friends, your lovers, your brothers, your sisters, your spouse, your children, those who claim to be close to God? All of the above?
Jesus wants to love you in a way that will satisfy every longing for love you have. He wants to fill all your empty spaces which you have futilely been trying to fill with human love. He alone can bring warmth to the cold caverns inside your heart.
Maybe you’ve reached the point where you’ve vowed, “I’m through with relationships,” and you are trying to fill the loneliness left behind with cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, or casual sex? Or maybe you’re using things you see as harmless to ease the pain of failed relationships such as work, food, or TV. Nothing and no one can fill the void in your heart except Jesus.
Are you ready to invite Jesus into your life to be in charge, so that He can love you with His perfect love? He already showed that love for you when He died on the cross for your sins. His love for you is so great that if you had been the only one, He still would have died for you.
Will you receive Jesus and His love right now? Will you say “yes” to a love that never fails?
If you are ready to say “yes” to Jesus and His love that never fails, say this prayer out loud: Lord Jesus, I receive You into my life right now. I am sorry for all my sins and especially for the sin of trying to find perfect love in people instead of in You. Help me to receive fully the love You have for me. Let me turn my back on everything that would block Your love from flowing into my life and keep me from being all You want me to be. Make me strong, so I can live for You and love others with Your love. In Your name I pray. Amen.
Now that you have said “yes” to Jesus and His love, read the love letters He has written to You in the Bible, His Holy Word. Spend time with others who know God’s love, and tell people who are hungry for love about the love you’ve found. Determine to love those who have let you down with the love of Christ, and watch your relationships improve and even thrive. And don’t forget: His love never fails.