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Where You Can Turn When Your Relationship Feels Stormy
As a child, I flew often. My father was an airline captain for a major commercial airline, so flying was a normal mode of transportation. As you might imagine, with a lot of flying comes an increased opportunity for turbulence to occur. And I admit, despite countless hours in the air, I never got used to the turbulence.
But one thing would set me at ease no matter how bumpy a flight got: my father’s words.
If my dad was in the cockpit and knew that we were coming up on some turbulence, he would make his way back to where I was, tell me to buckle up, and then say, “It’s just like a roller coaster, Heather. It makes it more fun this way.” He’d pause and then throw in a bit more for good measure: “I sure do get bored if it’s just a smooth flight. How about you?”
I would always force a smile back at him and try to look brave as my knuckles started to turn white grasping both sides of my seat. But then, after he left to go back to the cockpit and fly, I’d rehearse my father’s words over and over in my mind: “It’s just like a roller coaster, Heather. It makes it more fun this way.” And I’d remember the calm in his voice and on his face. A few minutes into the turbulence, and I’d have peace. Why? Because my dad had peace, and he was the one who was flying.
Now, I’ll admit, when I fly today as an adult and we face some turbulence, I often hear his words but also realize he’s not the one flying. So my heart starts racing, and my knuckles turn white as I squeeze my husband’s hand or leg a bit too hard. But whenever my dad was the pilot, I flew in perfect peace regardless of the bumps. This is because I trusted him, no matter what.
God also gives us a promise of peace when we choose to trust Him rather than fear the circumstances that cause bumps in our marriage. Isaiah 26:3 tells us clearly, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
Marriage comes with some turbulence, no doubt. It’s part of the process of pairing up two sinful human beings. Just like bumpy air is bound to happen if you fly long enough. God never promised us that the bumps would go away, just like my dad never promised me a smooth flight. But what God does do is give us the assurance that He is the One in control— He’s the Captain of our lives, and He knows how to get us where we need to go.
In hindsight, now that I’m grown, I don’t think my dad actually got bored on smooth flights or thought that turbulence was more fun. But when I was a child, he framed my experience in such a way that it gave me the opportunity to choose peace.
Jesus has done something similar for us, painting life’s difficulties in a way we can understand when He says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Truth is, He has overcome the world as a warrior battling fiercely against an enemy bent on our destruction. But Jesus doesn’t go into those graphic details in this verse, just like my dad didn’t tell me how bad the storms he was about to navigate both through and around actually were. Rather, Jesus simply reminds us to take heart by trusting Him. He reminds us that He has overcome. He smiles. Then He returns to battle on our behalf.
Peace has been offered to us if we simply choose to believe Him and receive it.