What is the biggest mistake you have ever made? We all make them.
I have made some colossal ones. I’m not talking about sin (although, of course, I do that too). I am talking about rash decisions made in haste. In the past, I’ve turned down really great job or career opportunities to pursue really lousy ones. I’ve ignored people that I should have cared about, and cared about people that I should have ignored. I’ve gotten into really stupid debt. I even once bought a polyester leisure suit!
I’ve found myself in all kinds of situations and asked, “how did I wind up HERE, with THIS?” I have looked back often and thought, “If only I knew then what I know now, I would not have gotten into this.”
But, you know what the biggest mistake has been? Thinking that any one of my mistakes was not part of God’s design.
Our feeble minds sometimes forget that God is really, fully in control. Sin warps our view of everything. We view our lives as a series of events that we control. That itself is a mistake.
It is a mistake because, as Ephesians 1:11 says, God works all things according to the counsel of His will. (ESV)
Many people get married and later think that they have made a mistake. Studies show that about one-fourth of people who stay married regret their marriage, and (of course) that is not counting those who get divorced. Many marriages turn unhappy for one or both spouses. The “for better or worse,” ends up seeming to be for worse. One marriage partner or another is quite likely to think that he or she has made a tragic mistake.
Jesus encountered some of those people. Here is what he told them in Matthew 19:4-8 (ESV)
“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Of course, the context of their question to the Lord was divorce, but notice what Jesus answers:
God has brought that man and that woman together!
We might think that we met our spouse through random events, or because of the match-making of a friend, or because of some computer web site. We may think that our marriage was merely our own idea. These are all mistakes.
God brought us together. No less power or authority is responsible.
That man or that woman to whom we are married was brought into our lives and made our spouse by God.
His purpose for that may have been to increase our joy , happiness, and pleasure. It may have been for our reproof, rebuke, or instruction. There is not a single verse in the Bible that guarantees that a married couple will live “happily ever after.” In fact, in 1 Corinthians 7:28 there is the promise that “those who marry will have worldly troubles.”
Nonetheless, it was His purpose and design that brought that particular person into our life, and His purpose and design is to keep him or her in our life.
If we acknowledge that, we can begin to live for the purpose and in the design that God intended. It may be hard. It may be the hardest thing we do in our entire life. In fact, no one of us can fully do it by ourselves on our own power. But if we are in Christ, we have the promise that God will never leave us nor forsake us.
Do you know one prominent place where that promise can be found?
It is at the end of this passage in Hebrews 13:4-5 (ESV):
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”