The first weekend in February Jason and I took a weekend away(which really needs a whole separate blogpost on how we managed to get away). Just him and I.....and about 145 other couples. We attended a marriage retreat hosted by our church. The main speaker was Paul Tripp.
At one point Mr. Tripp was driving home the fact that "out of the heart the mouth speaks". Or our actions are not a result of the circumstances around us, but what is already deep within our hearts. To illustrate this, he held up a water bottle with cap off. He proceeded to shake the bottle enough that some of the water spilled out. Yes, the shaking caused spillage! But what came out was what was already in there!! WATER! Not milk, not pop......WATER! The molecular structure of the water wasn't going to change because there was an outside force causing the water to come out.
His main point being that each and every one of us have a deep blackness in our souls. Eventually circumstances will cause this corruption to come flowing out.....in anger, harsh words, selfishness, greed etc. But it's not the circumstances that are the problem......it's what's inside that's the problem that needs resolving.
Have I lost you yet? I hope not.....it gets better!!
So as he's speaking my mind went to our marriage....this is a marriage retreat, right? Then I went to the blackest point in our marriage....where all the ugliness came crashing to the surface. Then I thought of the circumstances surrounding the ugliness. BAM!! There is was......DIABETES!!! We were 9 months into the disease. Just beginning the pump!! Yes, PUMP START!! Meaning no sleep and crazy, whacky diabetes results...OH.... and the STRESS!!
The circumstance....DIABETES.....but in reality the diabetes was just a circumstance. It wasn't the reason for the blackness....the reason was already within both of us.
So here is where it gets better.....
Mr. Tripp went on to show us that it's a good and loving God who constantly allows these circumstances in our life to expose more of what is in our hearts so that we can be more holy. So that we can be washed "whiter than snow". So that we will take what has just surfaced and claim Jesus's blood and righteousness. Because we, in and of ourselves CANNOT change our heart.....only by accepting what Jesus did for us on the Cross can our hearts be cleansed. And the fact being that it's a constant cleansing......more ugliness will surface....daily! (For you theologians reading this I'm mainly talking about the process of sanctification here!:)
Recently we had a person remind us of the blackness of 18 months ago. I read the words thinking...."Wow!! Look what had surfaced!!!" Time had faded my memory of the actual words and actions. I carefully scanned my heart for anything I had yet to confess or relinquish to the Cross. Most, if not all, I had already, but the reality of the blackness made me go back to the Throne of Grace one more time. And it was there...... I rejoiced!!!
God is good and faithful and just and loving and kind and...and....and.... He can take the ugliness of a horrible disease called diabetes, and more importantly he can take the blackness of our hearts and turn it into something beautiful. He exposes our failings, not to harm, but to heal. He brings HOPE where there seems like there is none!!
So yes, while the divorce rate increases dramatically for those of us who happen to have a child with a chronic disease......it's not the disease that's the issue!!!! The issue is our hearts....they're black!!! The issue is that we are all in need of a Savior. We all need cleansing. We all need Jesus! I'm thankful, now more than ever, for what His blood has done to redeem the blackness exposed by diabetes.