Does your marriage forecast look gloomy? International Bible teacher Kay Arthur calls husbands and wives to turn back to God and His word to find healing for their marriages and families.
Does your marriage forecast look gloomy? International Bible teacher Kay Arthur calls husbands and wives to turn back to God and His word to find healing for their marriages and families.
Bob: Kay Arthur wants to remind us that when our path is dark, it is Jesus who said, “I am the light of the world.”
Kay: There is healing and hope for life’s desperate moments because he is the God of all hope, because he sends his Word and heals them. And there is nothing that can happen in my life that can destroy me, distort me, no matter what man does to me, because God is sovereign.
Bob: This is FamilyLifeToday for Wednesday, March 16th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Where does our help come from when we find ourselves walking a difficult and dark path? Kay Arthur joins us today.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I was recently at one of our Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways, and a couple came up to me in the middle of the afternoon, and it was a hard circumstance. The wife was there with her husband.
She had learned several months before that he had been unfaithful. He was repentant in his unfaithfulness, but as she sat there with me she said, “And then I learned two days ago that while we’ve been going to counseling he has lapsed back in, he’s been unfaithful again.” And here are the two of them standing there, and his head is down and he’s ashamed. We talked about some of the practical implications, but I remember her tears, and I remember her saying, “What do I do? How do I bear this?”
We talked about a lot of things. We talked about the practical side. He wanted to reconcile; he wanted to deal with his issue, he acknowledged it, he called it sin. I remember saying to her, “I know you want to run from the pain because you think ‘If I run from the pain I’ll find help here.’” I said, “If you want to be free of the pain, you have to run into the pain rather than run from the pain. If you try to run from it, it will follow you the rest of your life. If you press into it you can find healing and help there.”
Dennis: You know, Bob, we get e-mails, letters, calls here at FamilyLife from couples who are in extremely pain-filled situations, and I don’t know all of what is taking place in our nation, but I just think right now for some reason the pain has been turned up on marriages and families. In fact, a number of our speakers who speak at our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways have commented that more than ever there are more couples coming whose marriages are on the brink. Our conference was primarily designed for healthy marriages, to equip them to go the distance and reach out to others. But for whatever reason, the culture we’re in, I think it’s becoming increasingly difficult to live a life and live out the covenant promise of a marriage that goes the distance today.
We have a guest with us on FamilyLife Today who has given her life to teaching people how to think rightly about everything that comes at them in life. Kay Arthur joins us again on FamilyLife Today. Kay, welcome back to the broadcast.
Kay: It is a privilege, and I mean this. I’m not saying it just because I’m looking at you face-to-face, but it really is a privilege. I appreciate so very much, so very, very much what you are doing, and it is so absolutely critical.
As you were talking, I was thinking about, at one of our couples’ conferences at Precept Ministries, that night I was teaching on what true Christianity is, and 1 Corinthians and Ephesians in essence say, “Don’t be deceived. Fornicators, adulterers, etc. have no inheritance in the Kingdom of God.”
And so I hit – and it says “homosexuality, etc.” – I hit that and then the Lord led me – I don’t give an invitation unless the Lord leads me –and I gave an invitation. There were about seven or eight people that looked at me to say, “I’ve received Christ.”
One of them was a very handsome man, and he was in the back of our auditorium, and two days later our staff, David Lawson, who taught at the conference and who has been a pastor, got a call from that man who was a pastor, who had been going out of town and having homosexual liaisons while he was pastoring. His wife was sitting next to him, and so he had gone home and said, “I’ve just been saved, and I’ve got to tell you.” And he went to his church and he resigned. He said, “I’ve been in sin, and I can’t continue as your pastor because I just am a brand-new Christian.”
That couple now has a ministry, but we, as a nation, are not cognizant of the depth of our sin and even what sin is, because we don’t know the Word of God and we’re living in an amoral nation. We’ve got to bring people back to the Word of God and back to the truth, and especially the families and the husband-wife relationship.
I just got a note from a gal, and she was telling me what God had done through her study of the Word, and like you’re saying, go the extra mile and this is a covenant, don’t just walk out – and he was abusive to her, physically abusive. You look at this picture of this gorgeous family in this gorgeous setting and you don’t even have the slightest idea. That marriage has been restored, he’s been turned around, because of knowing the Word of God, knowing the power of God, knowing the healing of the Word of God, so that their marriage has been healed and now they have a wonderful family that is continuing on.
Dennis: Here’s the thing, Kay, as we’re going through life many of these pressure-filled days that we’re under come as a result of the choices we’re making to stay busy and to be too busy and to not evaluate what must be our priority, beginning with our relationship with Jesus Christ and the Scriptures, but then secondly our spouse and our children, and protecting our family.
Barbara and I used to have a date night, and I say we used to have it – we still have the date nights, but it’s not exactly the same as it was, because we used to have to escape our children to be able to get away to have a two-hour conversation where we were able to recalibrate our lives around what mattered and what counted. And I feel like, as you do, that the pace of life today for many couples – they’re just continuing to ramp it up and the treadmill keeps getting steeper and steeper and the speed of that thing is increasing and we wonder why people are falling out of the battle and falling out of their marriage.
Kay: Right. And there’s no time for healing. See, there’s no time to talk about the problems, to talk about the situation, to be in an atmosphere where “I care about you, you care about me.” You know, the husband cares about the wife, the wife cares about the husband, and so there’s an opportunity.
Healing comes from knowing God, but it also comes in relationships, and in me sharing what God has taught me, me sharing how God took me through this, me hearing, “Hey, I can make this because you made it.” It comes from a husband being able to say, “You know, I just thank you for meeting my needs. It’s hard on me when they’re not met,” or whatever; being able to be vulnerable with one another.
Bob: Let me ask you about the deep and gnawing and persistent pain that comes as a parent of a prodigal. Can you speak to – I mean you talk about hurt running deep. This is the daily experience of a lot of parents who watch their kids abandon the faith, and they’re on a trajectory for ruin in their lives, and you go to bed at night crying out to God every night.
Kay: Before I was ever saved I came from a good family. We had a good family life. That’s all I wanted. I just wanted this happy marriage; I wanted to raise my children. I wanted a Father Knows Best kind of thing, Ozzie and Harriet from the old, old past. I wanted that kind of a marriage and family, and I was devoted to that. And I have a son who won’t talk to me, who doesn’t see me, who wants to dictate how I live, who wants me to stop ministry, and I think that we forget we’re called to a cross.
Dennis: A lot of couples when they start out their marriage, especially those who are followers of Christ, they start out their marriage and their family and they have this resolve: It’s not going to be the way it was when I was a kid. We’re going to be able to defeat evil as a family and overcome it and it’s not going to happen to us. And the reality, as you say this in the book, there are no such things as automatics in life.
Kay: There aren’t.
Dennis: The Bible is filled with prodigals.
Kay: The Bible is filled with prodigals. I remember crying out to God. I can tell you where I was on the highway, and I was crying out to God about my son. I said, “God, I feel like such a failure.” And it was as if he spoke to me, a conversation in my mind – I never heard anything audible – but he said, “Am I a perfect parent?” And I said, “Yes, you’re a perfect parent.” And he said, “Are all my children perfect?” “No.”
And it’s not that I was a perfect parent. I made mistakes. I would go back and change them if I could. I can’t. Am I going to beat myself up for the rest of my life? No. Does my son have a responsibility? Yes. Are there other parents that failed and their sons still love them? Are there other parents that have failed and their sons still turned out right? Are there other people that have been through far more? -- I never abused my kids, I never – and they turned out right.
All I can tell you is it is not the scenario I want, and I have spiritual, so to speak, children all over. I have young men. I have teens that just this past weekend were lining up. You would think that this 77-year-old woman was a rock star. They wanted their pictures with me, they wanted me to sign their Bibles, their grandmothers and grandfathers. We taught them, and here they are hungry for the Word of God and they’re so excited about being with me. And where’s my son? And you stand there and you think, “Here are all these kids. Where’s your own flesh and blood?”
Dennis: Right, right.
Kay: I was in your home, Dennis. I saw your family. I would like that. I’d take that. I don’t have it. So what am I going to do? Right now I’m crying, but what am I going to do? Am I going to quit life? Am I going to get mad at God? No, I can’t live without him.
He’s my life, and if this is the life that he has chosen for me, then I am to live obviously as an example among the believers. You know when you’re 77 it’s almost over, and I want to hear “Well done.”
But when I’m able to take another person in my arms and they’re weeping on me and I can say, “You can make it,” and I can say, “It’s not your fault.” Each one of us is accountable before God, and God is the one that saves. I am not the savior, I am the messenger. And God assures me, “He that comes to me I will in no wise cast out. I will raise him up on the last day.
You come to me because I’ve drawn you, because I brought you.” And understanding that God doesn’t lose any of his sheep, understanding the whole picture of salvation, and I understand it. I know that God is sovereign over salvation. I know that I cannot save my child. I know that I cannot turn him from darkness to light. I know that only God can, and I know if that’s God’s intention, that God will accomplish it, and I am to rest, and I am to be about my Father’s business.
Dennis: What I’ve heard you just say, Kay, is your knowledge of God that has come through the Scriptures edits, dictates the way you think, the choices you make and the way you live.
Kay: Yes. Exactly.
Dennis: Bob has heard me quote A.W. Tozer on more than one occasion here. One of my favorite quotes that he’s ever made—he says “The most important thing about you is what you think about God.”
Dennis: Because if you don’t think rightly about who God is, how are you going to interpret all the hardship that’s come your way? And yet, God is God, and here’s what he says about that. You’ve just modeled it for us, but I want to summarize it from Scripture. 2 Corinthians 4, verse 16: “So we do not lose heart, though our outer nature is wasting away and our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight, momentary affliction” – I’ll read that again – “this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
God must sit in Heaven sometimes and just kind of push back on his throne and shake his head at us, at how many times he sought to teach us not to walk by sight, not to walk by feelings, but to walk by faith and to embrace the promises of Scripture. And that’s what I hear you saying -- you’ve tried to interpret all the tough circumstances that have come into your life.
Kay: I filtered them through the Word of God.
Kay: And one of the things I taught is everything that comes into my life is filtered through fingers of love, because God is love. He is holy, he is just, he is righteous, he is love, and everything that comes. And when Paul said, “These afflictions,” when you look at Paul’s afflictions that he describes in 2 Corinthians, they are temporary, they are light, you know – but they are in comparison with the glory.
I’ve written a study book on 2 Corinthians. It put me on my face, and it’s “Lord, give me a heart for you. Give me a heart for you,” because in 2 Corinthians – I knew you were going there, because Paul just bares his heart and he lets us see the fears within and the pressures without. And then you come to 5 after he says “the things which are not seen are eternal,” and then he goes into this: “We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, to give an answer for the deeds done in our body.”
In other words, am I going to believe God or am I not? Without faith it is impossible to please him.
And so in 2 Corinthians 5:9 he says, “Therefore we have as our ambition, whether in the body or out of the body, to be pleasing to him.” Am I pleasing him? That’s my ambition, is to be pleasing, for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. I just keep telling people, “If you don’t have time, if you’re reading books written by men and you don’t have time to read the Word, which is God’s Word, man’s writings are the interpretation of God.” But if I’m not in the Word, that’s where he sent his Word and healed them.
And that’s what When the Hurt Runs Deep is all about. There is healing and hope for life’s desperate moments, because he is the God of all hope, because he sends his Word and heals them. There is nothing that can happen in my life that can destroy me, distort me, no matter what man does to me, because God is sovereign and he promises.
Bob: I have to ask you, have you imagined that 2 Corinthians 5 day for you?
Kay: Yes. I’m glad I’m still alive, because I think he has a work to do in my life. You know my life is so busy, I mean, with ministry. I have a husband that is such a precious, precious man, and he has not been selfish with me. In our lives we have chosen this path, and we want to finish well.
But I will tell you this: there are things he has to change, and what I’ve just been doing is I’ve been taking time and I started at one end of our house and went to the other end, clearing out, getting rid of stuff, simplifying my life, and listening to him tell me, “You don’t need these things. Sell them. Give them away. Use it for the gospel of Jesus Christ.” And I’ve been given a lot of nice things because people are sweet and people are generous, but I don’t want to be ashamed, and so I’m glad he’s still got me alive and breathing.
Dennis: Well, there’s one other thing that’s in this passage that you not only model, but you’re exhorting those that you minister to to fulfill in their own lives, and it’s the way 2 Corinthians 5 concludes. It says, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ.” And Kay, you are an ambassador for Christ.
Kay: Thank you. And it’s such a privilege to be here because you all are, too, because we’re one mind, one heart. I appreciate your hearts; I appreciate your ministry. I appreciate your sacrifice, your passion. I’m so excited about what FamilyLife is doing and what you’re going to do for reaching these families. I just pray that people will wake up and listen.
Dennis: Well, we appreciate you, and I hope I’m able to have the kind of energy you have when I’m at your season of life. You are a great model. You remind me of Bill Bright a little bit, running to the finish line with your torch brightly burning.
Kay: Thank you.
Bob: When you’re at her season can we have her back just to see how she’s doing?
Kay: [laughter] I’m 77. How old are you?
Dennis: I’m 62.
Bob: So we’ll make a date, about 15 years from now.
Dennis: Let’s do it.
Kay: You mean you’re not going to have me on the program for 15 years?
Dennis: No, we’ll have you back.
Kay: Did I do bad? Again? Did I talk too much?
Dennis: It is fun, Kay, to have you. You really are a great friend and a comrade for the Kingdom and for the Gospel, and just appreciate your faithfulness to call the Christian community back to being radical followers of Jesus Christ, and being courageous.
Bob: And for taking us to the Scriptures on these kinds of issues, because I think oftentimes in these kinds of dark moments we can look and say, “Where do we find help?” and we start looking in all kinds of weird places, you know? You turn on Oprah or Dr. Phil and think you’re going to find it there instead of turning to the Word of God and letting the Spirit of God direct your path.
Let me encourage our listeners, if you don’t have a copy of Kay’s book, When the Hurt Runs Deep, go to FamilyLifeToday.com and request a copy; FamilyLifeToday.com or call 1-800-FL-TODAY, and you can make arrangements to have a copy sent to you.
Let me also mention that we have spent some time with Kay and with the studio audience taking questions and letting Kay respond to those questions, and that Q and A time is available online if you’d like to listen to it. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and you can either stream the audio or you can download the MP3 and listen to the Q and A time that we’ve had in our time together with Kay. Again our website is FamilyLifeToday.com.
I think in the conversation that we’ve had this week with Kay Arthur the thing that stands out is often that we just need to be reminded over and over again of some of the things that the Bible teaches us are true but that we can forget in the midst of challenging circumstances. Not long ago Barbara Rainey was speaking to a group of women, some of them regular listeners to FamilyLife Today, some of them had never heard about the ministry, and she was presenting a message she called “Three Essentials for Every Married Woman,” where she spelled out the basics: what’s at the core of being a godly wife and fulfilling your responsibilities in the home.
We captured her essential points from that message and put them on a laminated card along with some of Barbara’s artwork, and we’re making that card available to any of you who would like to call and request it. If you’re new to FamilyLife Today, here’s a way to get introduced to the ministry and find out more about who we are and what we do. It’s easy to go online to FamilyLifeToday.com, or to call 1-800-FL-TODAY, and just request the “Three Essentials for Every Married Woman” laminated card from Barbara Rainey, and we’ll be happy to send a copy of it to you, and we appreciate you listening to FamilyLifeToday.
And we want to invite you back tomorrow when we’re going to hear a message that was presented just a couple of weeks ago to FamilyLife Today listeners who joined us on the FamilyLife Love Like You Mean It cruise. It’s a great message that was featured on board the ship, and I hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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