I am a little embarrassed to admit that I love infomercials. Every now and then I even like to watch those shopping channels. Everything featured is always new and improved, solves so many problems and are even life changing! My husband and kids make fun of me when they catch me watching and we all love to join in on the repeated phrases like, "But wait, there's more!" or "If you call now!". The popular disclaimer on weight loss and fitness programs is always, "result may vary".
Sometimes we sit in church or read books and we view the Christian testimony like an infomercial. A person has a problem, they seek a solution, they find Jesus, and all of their problems are solved and they now have a wonderful, spotless life. Easy peasy and just like that! Not so.
My husband shared his testimony in front of our church a few months ago. I stood by him as he shared his struggles with addiction, the hurts of his past and how all of this damaged our marriage. He shared how he found Christ and overcame addiction and how our marriage was restored. I stood by him to support him - I was and am so very proud of that man.
Immediately following that moment and in the months since, people have come up to us or contacted us to thank us for sharing. Some of those people are in the middle of their own mess have asked us questions like, "What worked?" and "How long did it take?". I have looked into their hurting faces or read the desperate emails and realize they are seeking the solutions, the fixes and need relief.
We are honest and share some of the things we learned that worked for us. I learned to be thankful in all things. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) I share that I learned from Emmerson Eggerich's book, Love and Respect, how wives need love and husbands need respect. I began practicing respect even when I didn't feel like it. (Ephesians 5) I share how even when I was the most hurt and angry I sought to serve my husband daily. I began doing little things like making his breakfast and sitting with him before he went off to work. After several weeks of doing this, my heart softened toward him and his to mine. He began to do things for me and loving me through service, just like Jesus washing the disciples' feet. (John 13)
My husband had his own journey. He attended 12 step programs and support groups. He sought counsel from pastors and godly men. He began serving within the church and singing in our church choir. He found that worship was very healing to him. These are all things that worked for us as individuals and as a couple but I must add a disclaimer: Results May Vary.
The problem with the day we shared is that we had only so many minutes to share publicly. We didn't get to share that while it seemed healing and restoration came instantly, the years following my husband's finding Christ and the start of his healing were as hard and almost worse than the years prior. While he was finding Jesus, I was unearthing years of rage, resentment and regret for not acting sooner. We were raising our three young children on little to no sleep and many tears. We were often not on the same page and struggled to find balance and unity. While I was happy for him I was often feeling sorry for myself. I still went about doing all things I mentioned before no matter how I felt but it wasn't pretty.
If there was small print at the bottom of testimonies it would be this: Even when we do the Christ-like things in our relationships like gratitude, forgiveness and selfless service the cheaters may still cheat, drinkers may still drink and the liars may continue to lie. The things we do are meant to bring about change in our own hearts first, what happens with the other person is between them and Lord. Individual results may vary.
That sounds a little discouraging...but wait, there's more! There is one thing I can guarantee. Jesus promised to anyone who put complete and total trust in Him eternal life. No strings attached and no additional monthly payments. So while your situation looks grim or that person in your life continues to hurt you, you can at least be guaranteed that when you leave this world there will be no more tears.
Revelation 21:4 says, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” While the problems of this world seem never ending, they are temporary. We have no way of knowing when our situations will change or when and if the people who hurt us will repent but we do have a blessed assurance.
Fanny Crosby wrote the very well known hymn, "Blessed Assurance". It goes like this:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
I can't make guarantees that what worked for me and my husband will work for you in your situation. I CAN make the guarantee that if you call on the Lord and come near to Him, He will come near to you. (James 4:8) If you believe on Him, He personally guarantees you an eternity of peace. The best part is there is no money back guarantee because by His grace, it's all free.