To alleviate your suspense: this is also a post that is not about sex.
We talk a lot on here about married people “doing their duty”. Whether it’s the duty of maintaining beauty, childcare and sick-care, housekeeping, provision, or participating or refraining from sex for the sake of your spouse… it’s a dominant strain on this blog.
(This is not going to digress into a discussion of sex. Stay with me, people.)
And today, I was thinking about how this applies to God. We know that the purpose of marriage is to teach us about the relationship between Christ and His Church, so all of these things we do — even when we don’t really want to do them — must be teaching us something about this relationship.
I’m thinking that this is teaching us that our feelings are secondary to the relationship. That when we are baptized, just as when we take vows of marriage, we enter into a permanent relationship with God that we have a responsibility to maintain, even when we’re not really “feeling it”. Even when we’re not in the mood. Even when we’d rather do something else. There’s a minimum we have to do to maintain the covenant, and we just have to do it.
That sounds really anticlimactic, I know, but think about how counter-cultural that message is. Think about how many people enter into a marital or spiritual “dry spell” and just give up, cash in, pick up their toys and stomp out, run off to join the moral circus. And then think about the people who stick it out. Who work it out. Who just keep-on-keeping-on in the hope that there’ll be a light at the end of the tunnel.
They show up at church on Sunday. They say their daily prayers. They study the Bible. They follow the liturgy and the laws. They try to do good and no harm all the days of their lives.
It’s easy to say, “Well, they’re just going through the motions!” they way people say, “Well, they’re just staying for the sake of the children!” Yes, they are, at least for a time. But that still counts for something.
God’s listening to your prayers, even if you don’t know it. He’s watching what you do, even if you don’t notice Him observing you. He’ll not forget that what you did and what you said when you thought nobody knew it. When you worried that it was pointless and that you were just going insane because you spent so much time essentially talking to yourself. When you thought even He didn’t know it.
He won’t forget that. And when you do eventually come out of that spell and your spiritual life regains vigor, you won’t forget that, either. And it will change your walk forever.
So stick it out. Hang in there. Do your duty. I can see the light ahead.