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By Jan Ross

This is an article written for a marriage restoration ministry.

Why does God call some to stand for a broken relationshipand not others? I’ve asked myself this question over and over again and suddenly it hit me . . . the answer is simple: “He’s sovereign!”

The basis for my understanding comes from Ephesians 4:11, a strange verse that seems to explain more than what it appears to: “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers…” The key word is “some”! God, in His sovereign will, calls some to one thing and yet some to other things. Just as He called Job to a test beyond our human comprehension, He called David to be King. Just as He called Paul to be an Apostle to both the Jew and Greek, He called John to reveal the glories of the glorious victory of Christ at the end of the age. God calls according to His sovereign will.

Having dealt with some chronic illnesses for the past 10+ years of my life, I learned early on that it was indeed a “calling” that not every woman shared! And through my struggles I learned that it was indeed a privilege to called with such a calling! Do I despise the pain? You bet! I hate the debilitating pain that continues to limit what I can do! But I learned something . . . even Jesus despised his shame although He understood that the shame He endured along with the inhumane suffering would produce fruit of righteousness! It is okay to hate/despise the calling but it’s important to understand the REASON for the calling!

In the case of your marriage stand, as it is with any call of God, it’s not about the call itself, it’s about what the call produces in the individual life! Just as Jesus was called to die, His call wasn’t about death, it was about producing the path to righteousness for us all! Whether the stand takes weeks, months, years, or even decades . . . or even if you are like many listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 where they died without having received the promise having never wavered in faith . . . the call is not about the marriage as much as it is about what the process produces!

To the chronically ill, the call is not about healing as much as it is about learning to trust God which produces strength leading to deeper relationship with Him – the purpose of the call . . . the purpose of every call!

To the estranged wife, the call is not about restoring the marriage as much as it is about learning to trust God which produces strength leading to a deeper relationship with Him – the very purpose of the call and, again, the purpose of EVERY call!

To the parent of rebellious children, the call to parenting is not about changing that child to be loving and submissive as much as it is about learning to rely on God which produces the fruit of righteousness while God deals with the child’s heart individually.

To the homeless or impoverished, the call is not about finally receiving riches – its about learning to be content in every circumstance, relying on God for all things which will, if one will allow it, produce the fruit of righteousness and peace in the midst of the circumstances.

God is not nearly concerned about fixing the challenge He has called us to as He is about transforming the heart of the one He has called! When He called us to marriage restoration, He did so (1) with victory in mind, but even moreso (2) with producing the fruit of righteousness in the heart of the one He called.

I have to wonder, however, if the “victory” He has called us to is not more about victory over fear and doubt and depression! In fact, it is this road toward victory that actually produces righteousness according to His sovereign will! He allows the stumbling blocks because He knows they will produce an outcome as a landmark along the way to victory!

I wonder, too, about Moses as he led the children of Israel to the Promised Land. They weren’t but a few days’ journey from their destiny, but God led them through the wilderness for 40 years while He appointed to them many challenges along the way. I’ve heard it taught that if they had just obeyed the Lord, their journey would have been much shorter, but they continued to rebel which always lengthened their journey.

Let me encourage you . . . whether you’re called to stand for your marriage or called to chronic illness or called to poverty or joblessness or whatever your situation. It’s the journey toward victory that is purposed to produce in you fruit of righteousness that will bring glory to God. The sooner we submit to His will, give Him the right to lead us through the tough times, the times of lack, loneliness, sorrow, pain, rejection, etc., the sooner He will lead us to the edge of the mountain where we can literally see our “promised land” and prepare to cross over!

Hold on . . . don’t quit, don’t give up, don’t lose hope, don’t walk away. Your “promised land” could be around the next corner if you will but submit to His sovereign will and allow that fruit of righteousness to be perfected in you!

God has a plan! Let’s let Him have His way and give Him the glory through our obedience and submission to His call!
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