This episode of the series we interview Dale and Veronica Partridge, from the Real Christianity Podcast.
They have experienced trial after trial this last year, yet they have remained faithful to God despite their circumstances. We hope that by sharing their story you are encouraged–no matter what your current circumstances are–to persevere. Our encouragement to you is to remind you not to let the enemy strip you of your effectiveness for the kingdom of God!
If the enemy can get you to question the things that you know to be true, then he can get you to doubt what you are doing.” – Marriage After God Book, Chapter 2
We pray nothing would hinder our effectiveness in ministering to each other in marriage. We also pray nothing would hinder our effectiveness in sharing the gospel in this world. We pray You would defend us against the enemy. We pray his plans to divide us and destroy marriage would not prevail. Protect us from the enemy’s schemes! Thank You for equipping us with armor so that we can stand firm in our faith. We pray our flesh would not get in the way of our effectiveness. Help us to have self control and walk in wisdom. If we do experience attacks or hardships may You be our strength, hope, and endurance to run this race with perseverance. If our flesh does hinder us may we confront our sin and repent so that we may be vessels of Your glory as we share with others the power of salvation in our lives. We submit our marriage to You and ask that You use us to do all the wonderful things You have prepared for us to do. May Your name be glorified.
In Jesus’ name, amen!
[Aaron] Hey we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.
[Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.
[Aaron] And today we’re in part two of the Marriage After God series and we’re gonna be talking with Dale and Veronica Partridge about The War On Our Effectiveness. Welcome to The Marriage After God podcast, where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after.
[Jennifer] I’m Jennifer also known as Unveiled Wife.
[Aaron] And I’m Aaron also known as Husband Revolution.
[Jennifer] We have been married for over a decade.
[Aaron] And so far we have four young children.
[Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media.
[Aaron] With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage. Encouraging them to walk in faith every day.
[Aaron] We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one. Full of life.
[Jennifer] And power.
[Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God.
[Aaron] Thank you for joining us on this journey as we chase boldly after God’s will for our life together.
[Jennifer] This is Marriage After God.
[Jennifer] Thank you everyone for joining us today. We just wanna take a moment and just encourage you to leave us a review. That’s just one way that you can support this podcast and get the message out about the podcast that helps other people find the Marriage After God podcast and it’s real quick, you just gotta leave a star rating review, or you can leave a comment review which always encourages us.
[Aaron] Also we just want to encourage you to get a copy of our new book, Marriage After God. It’s what this entire series is based on and we’d love for you to read through that as a couple. You can go to shop.marriageaftergod.com and support us in that way.
[Jennifer] So today we have Dale and Veronica Partridge, which are some of our closest friends, thank you for being here.
[Veronica] Hi thanks for having us.
[Dale] We are excited.
[Veronica] We’re excited,
[Veronica] To be here.
[Dale] Yeah, this is, I think ten years in the making.
[Veronica] Just about.
[Dale] In terms of our relationship.
[Aaron] This episode.
[Aaron] Oh relationship I gotta.
[Dale] This episode probably, too, I guess.
[Jennifer] Awesome, well, could you just take a minute, and just introduce yourself to everyone listening.
[Dale] Yeah, I’ll start here. We’ve been married, next week, will be nine years, and together–
[Aaron] On Valentines day.
[Dale] On Valentine’s Day.
[Veronica] That’s right, on Valentines day.
[Dale] We got married on Valentine’s day. Long story short, but we didn’t intend to get married on Valentine’s Day. It just happened which is, again, part of a bigger story that we’ll have to tell later. But, yeah, we got three kids, five, three and one. And we are in ministry. Also, we run a podcast, and house church, and are in the thick of it in terms of trials in 2018. And it seems that they’re bleeding into this year as well. So, it’s something that we’re excited to share about, and talk about what it’s like to be in ministry, and also suffer persecution, and resistance, and illness, and some of the things that come with it.
[Jennifer] So, could you just mention a little bit more about your guys’ podcasts? Just, I’m sure people listening have already either been listening, or have known about it, but just in case they haven’t, share a little bit about it.
[Veronica] Yeah we have a podcast. It’s called Real Christianity. Where Dale and I talk about all aspects of walking the Christian life.
[Dale] Yeah and I think it’s, we really try to come at it from a biblical perspective. I’d say that the number one review that people leave is that it’s just bold, and they don’t have that many places I think that, the number one crossover, is your guys’ podcast. So everybody, you’d go just scroll to the bottom and it’s like suggested podcasts, and it’s Marriage After God. And so I think people are really looking for truth. Not watered down truth delivered gently, but truth. And I think that’s what makes the episode, or the podcast little bit different.
[Jennifer] Awesome. Well we’re excited to get to hear that boldness on this episode with you guys, and, yeah, we’re just excited to jump in.
[Aaron] So here’s an icebreaker question, I don’t know if Veronica has read this beforehand. It’s, what do you think is one thing that your spouse likes best about you?
[Dale] We can.
[Veronica] This is a family show right? What do I think Dale likes best about me? I think he likes that I’m a submissive wife.
[Jennifer] Oh wow bold.
[Veronica] And not in a bad way, like.
[Jennifer] That’s good.
[Dale] She is, she’s incredibly humble and
[Dale] Supportive, and she plays that helpmeet role that the Bible talks about, naturally. It’s not something that she actually has a fleshly thing against. She really, the Lord has blessed me with that, in terms of just a wife who just falls into that role really well. And the evidence of that, is that she’s been able to, you know, teach our daughter what that looks like, and teach some of the other women, who might not naturally fall into that, just by her example.
[Jennifer] Wow, as in our own friendship, Veronica. you’ve been a huge testament to me, of what it looks like, and an encouragement, so,
[Veronica] Thank you.
[Jennifer] Yeah, I can say yep.
[Dale] It’s a ministry.
[Veronica] Praise God.
[Jennifer] Yep. And yeah Dale, what does she like about you Dale?
[Veronica] What do I like about you?
[Dale] What do you like about me? I think I would say vision, the ability to tell us as a family where we’re going, to understand through the lens of Scripture.
[Veronica] Yeah, give us direction.
[Dale] And I would say joyful.
[Veronica] Yeah, he is generally a very happy person.
[Dale] Which I didn’t know about myself really, until I was married. I just thought I was a normal person.
[Aaron] Maybe you weren’t joyful before you were married right?
[Aaron] Dale’s so much happier now.
[Veronica] He’s always been very happy, and joyful, and positive type of person to be around.
[Dale] Yeah like in the morning I’m up, smiling, excited, jump out of bed, and Veronica is like–
[Veronica] I’m just more of a slow riser, need my time.
[Dale] Give me a half hour.
[Jennifer] Awesome, well, thank you for letting our listeners know a little bit more about who you guys are. We’re gonna jump into a quote from this chapter, chapter two of Marriage After God. It says, if the enemy can get you to question the things that you know to be true, then he can get you to doubt what you are doing.
[Aaron] Yeah and the reason we have this chapter in the book, The War On Our Effectiveness, is because you guys are actively pursuing God, and his ministry for your life, and using your gifts and talents for him. And we are too, and our encouragement to everyone listening is that they would do the same, in whatever that looks, whatever that looks like. And when we do that, there’s, well, even when we don’t do it, there’s something keeping us from doing it. keeping us from being effective for the kingdom of God. And one of them is our enemy, you know, the devil, confusing us and convincing us that things that are true are not true. And so, we just we hope in this episode, it’s not too heavy, but we wanna show the realities of the things in this world, and in us, that are keeping us from doing what God wants us to do.
[Jennifer] And what our response should be.
[Aaron] Yeah, and then, but also to encourage us that, hey, we all, all of us get to fight the same war, and get to take ground for God, despite it.
[Aaron] So, that’s what I hope to get out of this episode.
[Jennifer] Yeah, so, going back to that quote, and you know the enemy trying to get you to doubt you know what you’re doing. Have you two ever wrestled with doubt about what God has you doing? And if you did, how do you navigate those times as a couple?
[Veronica] I’d say yeah, definitely, especially within this last year of 2018 going into 2019. We pretty much said yes to full-time ministry in January of 2018 and, within that week, we just kinda had attack after attack after attack after attack. Do you wanna expand on that more babe?
[Dale] Yeah I mean we have had so much resistance. The first response in your flesh is to go, I shouldn’t be doing this. Maybe I should just stop doing ministry.
[Veronica] Maybe this is a no.
[Dale] Maybe this isn’t what God wants us to do. And if that logic is true, then the Apostle Paul was outside of God’s will, because his entire life was resistance. I mean, it’s listed off in Second Corinthians, it’s just like, yeah.
[Dale] It is a, I think this year was a purifying of a true understanding of what the gospel really is, and what ministry really is. I wrote a scripture down, John chapter 9, verse 3, it’s when the disciples are looking at this blind man that Jesus is about to heal. And everybody’s coming up with their own ideas of why he’s blind. And they asked the question like oh, so, was it him that sinned? Was it you know his parents that sinned? Is this a generational thing? Is this just like a curse on this man? Is he outside of the will of God? You know these are the types of questions that his disciples are asking, and he responds, neither this man nor his parents sinned. But that the works of God should be revealed in him. And so that the purpose of this man’s blindness, his literal illness, at this point, was to glorify God. That he would be able to glorify God. Maybe in this specific moment, but maybe in other ways, post this moment. And so, that was a really, this is becoming, the natural reaction. Like in the book of Job, is that, oh we’ve done something wrong. The friend that’s saying, oh maybe you’ve sinned, and you need to repent, or maybe you’re not doing enough work for the kingdom. Maybe you’re not reading your Bible enough. Like, what is it, why you guys are getting this many trials? And, just to go, hey you know what, we didn’t do anything wrong. At this point in terms of, the Lord’s happy with us, but it’s that we would actually glorify God in our trials and our suffering, in our illnesses.
[Veronica] When we are weak he is made strong.
[Aaron] Yeah I love that. So going, talking about this idea that there’s a war on our effectiveness, you know, we’re talking about ministry, we’re talking about preaching the gospel, we’re talking about living the Christian life, moving his kingdom forward, his will be done on earth as it in heaven, right? You’re talking about trials, which could absolutely be one thing that makes us ineffective for God. But, it’s not the trial that makes us ineffective. What, would you say, is the thing that makes us, because we all go through trials. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re being ineffective, but we can be made ineffective in the trial if, what happens if we, how we respond to that that makes us ineffective?
[Dale] I mean, I think that, just, there’s so many ways that you can fall away from the truth. And, you know, we need to be walking. It says, I believe it’s in Galatians, you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh, or walk in the spirit you will not fulfill the desires the flesh, and I think that when you get beaten down in your flesh, from illness, from trial, from emotional strain, if you don’t stick into the truth, I’m talking labor over it, let it pour and wash your mind with it, it’s really easy that you’ll lose your effectiveness, because you’re walking in your flesh and not in your spirit.
[Veronica] You become so discouraged that, yeah, if you are walking in the flesh you almost just kinda give up.
[Dale] You live in your emotions. You live in worry. You live in discouragement. You live in pain. And without the truths perspective on those emotions, you’ll fall apart. And so, it’s a constant replacing the lies of the enemy with the truth of God. And that is a practice that I say you need to do before the trials come. You don’t build a defense you know when the attacker–
[Aaron] During the battle yeah.
[Dale] When the attacker is there. You need to be prepared for that, and that’s something that we’ve wished we did more of, but you know it’s training, training for these times.
[Jennifer] So what would you say for all those listening, are some practical ways you can do that. Getting into the word. What did your guys’ daily life look like?
[Dale] Go for it.
[Veronica] For us with just being attacked and attacked we’ve been so worn down. We’ve been having to say no to a lot of things. Way, I mean we were generally very much yes people when it came to having people over, going out, just, we like being with people, and so having to say no a lot has been very norm, our new normal. Sticking to our routines, making sure we’re getting to bed on time, and then just making sure we’re in the word, as well.
[Dale] And we’re praying together and keeping a consistency there. I think that, you know, the Ephesians six chapter, verse on you know the armor of God. It’s one of these, you almost like think of it as, oh what a really cool metaphor. When life starts to get real hard, that doesn’t, it loses its metaphorical sense, and you go, I’m gonna make this very real in my life and I’m gonna read that passage just real quick. Not the whole thing but just the idea. He says in Ephesians six, 10 through 13, he says finally, my brother, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, this is a command that he’s saying right there. Put it on.
[Aaron] Yeah the believer puts it on.
[Dale] You gotta put it on. It’s not just sitting over there in the corner. That you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. And, in other words, if you don’t put it on, you won’t be able to stand against them. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age. Against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places. This is clarity. It’s really easy to go, what am I doing wrong? Why like why is this person mad at me? Why is this trial happening? Why are we fixing this thing in our church right now? I can’t believe they think that about us, like you can easily make this thing about an earthly matter. Like, oh, I didn’t exercise enough, I didn’t eat right enough, like, whatever it is.
[Dale] That’s causing that. Verse 13, it says, therefore, take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. And then he ends this little section a couple verses later, and he says, for which I am an ambassador in chains. And he’s meaning that literally. This is one of the prison epistles of Paul.
[Aaron] Yeah, he’s literally in house arrest.
[Dale] So you put this little picture together, and you go, this guy says put on the armor of God, yet this dude is straight-up persecuted and in chains. And, so it’s not like put on the armor of God, then everything’s gonna be great, prosperity gospel here we come. Life’s good, I’m going to the beach.
[Dale] It’s put on the armor of God, and boom, I’m in jail. And so, it’s a pretty interesting, counterintuitive thing to think about.
[Aaron] Veronica what are some of the things that you guys, ’cause they’re listening, they’re hearing that you guys are going through trials, and attacks, and stuff. Would you guys just list some of the things that you guys have been going through, not that it makes you special, because, the Bible tells us that we are all going to go through trials, that there will be suffering in this world. You guys just currently happen to be going through quite a bit in your life, and I wanna talk about something about that, after that, but would you guys just share what you mean by these things?
[Veronica] Yeah, so, literally, like I said earlier, the week we entered ministry, last in January of 2018, we got hit with influenza hard.
[Aaron] It’s like months wasn’t it?
[Dale] Like hospitalization.
[Veronica] It was 21 days. 21 days of a fever in our house, Jen took me to the hospital at one point to see if had pneumonia. And during that time, my son, my youngest, was six months old, so I pretty much completely lost my milk supply, because I was so sick. After that, the next month, all of our kids got RSV, which is a terrible respiratory virus. One of our children has asthma, so this was before we knew he had asthma. So he ended up in the emergency room probably three times within that sickness, just because he could not breathe.
[Aaron] Those were scary moments.
[Veronica] Yes. We got the stomach flu for two weeks, you know, kind of scattered throughout everybody. Then our second son was diagnosed with asthma, because he is continuing to have these asthma attacks. You had skin cancer, I was bit by, likely, a tick, and contracted Lyme disease, and so, that’s something new that we’re navigating. The week after I got bit by the tick, we had a miscarriage.
[Dale] Then Veronica came down with appendicitis in the middle of the night, I had to rush her to the hospital, the antibiotics from the Lyme actually prevented her from, the surgeon and didn’t have to take it out. After that, I passed a kidney stone for the first time in my life which was, it was so painful, that I called an ambulance on the way in, someone was driving me, to see if they could give me some sort of pain relief, just to get to the hospital. And then.
[Veronica] We almost had a fire evacuation, the day Jen gave birth to Truitt, cause I’m trying to run out to the hospital to be with you, but at the same time I’m like.
[Dale] Yeah, that was like a raging fire.
[Veronica] Grab that, grab that because there’s a fire, just a few streets over from our street.
[Dale] Our son almost drowned in a pool.
[Veronica] Our youngest son almost drowned. You had bronchitis, or you had a cold that turned into bronchitis, and they were also checking you to see if you had pneumonia.
[Dale] And then we got I came down with gastritis.
[Veronica] Gastritis, and that’s been months of–
[Dale] It’s just been tough, it’s been a–
[Veronica] Being healed.
[Aaron] Tough’s a little, a little light of a word.
[Jennifer] I know I feel like everyone’s just thinking back right now, taking the weight of what all that means.
[Veronica] And that’s, yeah, that’s not everything, just last week our daughter, you know, our daughter had a cavity, and I was supposed to take her in to just to get that filled, and then, when I go to take her in, all of a sudden, literally within a week and a half of the last time we were there, it became infected, so they had to pull her tooth out, which was unexpected. And not that that was like a big tragedy, but it was just like one more thing, I’m just like, oh okay, so we’re dealing with my daughter getting her tooth pulled out today.
[Aaron] Well a lot of those smaller things, they are much larger when they’re compiled with all of the other things. Now, in this season, ’cause you’re still in some of this.
[Veronica] Yeah, we just had the stomach flu last week.
[Aaron] So, you know, but I’m thinking about like the bigger things, like you’re still dealing with Lyme, and you probably gonna have that the rest of your life, and you guys are spiritually, and mentally, and emotionally navigating that stuff, and has there been times in over the last year and a half that you thought to yourselves, God we’re doing all this for you, why is all this happening? Like these questions of like, almost well, like we don’t deserve this?
[Veronica] Yeah I actually just said those words to Dale yesterday. I was crying because I had already known that, we’ve already kind of known that I have Lyme, but to get the final diagnosis, I just got that yesterday. And so we kinda knew that but it also came back with, I also have a co-infection, which we didn’t expect, and so I was emotional, and I was upset about it. And I told Dale, I was like, don’t you think we’ve gone through enough? Like haven’t we gone through enough? Why is this happening? And then I just have to take a step back, and be, like you know, I have to have a bigger picture perspective right now. It’s not, this isn’t happening to me, it’s, something is going on to glorify God. I don’t maybe necessarily know what that looks like right now.
[Dale] The thing that I’m learning, is that you can’t yearn for heaven, if the place that you’re staying is great. And, that’s been something that we’ve, when you read the passage in Revelation about, that all the tears will be wiped away, and there’ll be no more pain and no more suffering. That doesn’t really hit you, when you’re on the beach in Hawaii and things are great. But it does hit you, when you’re sick in bed, and you’re just trial, after trial, after trial, and so.
[Veronica] And not only just sick in bed, but we have three little kids. Like our oldest just turned five last month, and so we have three of them, and they’re all very needy you know, you guys have young kids. They all still very much need us, and so being sick and dealing with our own trials, on top of just taking care of the day-to-day of being a parent, it can be exhausting.
[Dale] Yeah, so it is just a hard, it’s like the Lord is ripping out every false part of the gospel that we’ve ever believed, and telling us what it really is. It’s it’s not about prosperity or comfort, or blessing, or healing, and those things, they’re in there, but the gospel is sent, the central part of the gospel is to glorify God, but it’s sanctification, it’s holiness, it’s witness, it’s eternity. Like these are the elements of it. Because, you know, and it needs to be universal. This gospel must apply worldwide. And when you have people that have cancer, and have AIDS, and have that are kidnapped, and taken away, and martyrs, you know that gospel’s gotta to be true there, as well as it is on the guy that’s sitting on the beach in Hawaii. And so it’s just a, there’s a quote, I forgot who said it but it says, it goes along the lines of, Jesus, it’s hard to understand that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have. And that is where I think we’ve been, is it, you just go, oh, Lord like, I feel like it’s the only thing I have on certain days, and so–
[Veronica] Totally I completely agree with that, and there have been definitely moments within this last year, where I am like, I need to read my Bible, like I need that time with him. Like, I need God, I need Jesus, and I need his Holy Spirit to speak to me through the word, just to get me through this day. Because, it really has been all we have many moments throughout this last year.
[Jennifer] I wanna commend you guys, because for that list that you just gave us of everything that you’ve walked through in this last year. I mean, pick one, and everyone listening would be like, that’s hard enough to make me ineffective, like, I, that’s hard, and yet through as you’re listing these things, I’m thinking on my end of all the times you guys still showed up for us. Served us, gave us, you know, meals, when I was postpartum with Truitt, or you know, just, you were there, and not just for us, but for a lot of people in the community. And, I just wanna say thank you, that despite the hard things that you guys have been through, you still live your life biblically, and through serving, and I think that’s bold.
[Veronica] The only through the strength that the Lord’s given us. It’s the only way we are able to do these things.
[Dale] Yeah thank you I mean it’s we teach, one is that we don’t wanna become hypocrites, and so we’ve when you you read the word and you teach these things you see that Jesus did so much while suffering. And participatory community is difficult, it’s difficult when it’s when everything’s good and so we’ve, we teach that, and I think the Lord’s brought us through a season of going, well do you really believe it?
[Aaron] Yeah, I mean, it just shows that God loves us. That he’s willing to let us go through trials, and that he tests our faith. The Bible teaches us that, he tests us. And not unlike how we test our children. We give them opportunities to act a certain way, to believe a certain way, to respond a certain way. And so you know we’re talking about trials currently, things that we have no control over, right? And how they could make us ineffective and, by what you said, if we’re walking in the flesh, those trials will definitely make us ineffective ’cause we will crumble under them. You know that test, we’ll fail it. But it sounds like if we, and the Bible teaches us this, if we walk in the spirit, we are not gonna gratify the desires of the flesh, and we can actually become more effective, by allowing the trial to do what it’s meant to do. Sharpen us, train us, refine us.
[Jennifer] And glorify God.
[Aaron] And glorify God. So what are some other ways that the enemy tries to make us ineffective for the kingdom of God as in our marriages, like, what are some things, that if they’re unchecked and if we’re not aware, could totally destroy our effectiveness, remove us from what God is doing in us and through us?
[Dale] I mean, I think about, the enemy is all about division. And we know that that’s just the chief element and you know, Jesus says in John 17, Father I pray that they are one as we are one, so that the world may know that you sent me. And so just the his desire is unity in his church in his bride. And, in marriages, oneness, and the two shall become one flesh. And so there’s just this division element of marriage that, when we become divided, it is, I think, a tactic of the enemy, how does a wolf catch a sheep? He divides them.
[Dale] From the flock. And so you know us keeping a really close communicate, you know what, it’s not really exciting to talk to your spouse when things are all bad. And so, it’s really hard to actually wanna go and have a conversation about our crappy life. Like that’s how it feels like you know? Hey, let’s go talk about this bad thing right now. And so, keeping a discipline, and I’ve always defined discipline as doing things you don’t necessarily like, because it’s something that’s right. And so we have a discipline just to go I ask her several times a day how you doing? And sometimes she just gives me the quick answer, but sometimes she’ll give me the full answer. And, so we work hard to try to stay unified. If we fight, get in a tiff, and we don’t fight that often, this year’s been harder, because it’s just a harder year, but if we do get in an argument, we always pray. ‘Cause if you can’t pray together with your spouse after you’re done arguing, then you’re not unified. And, so there’s things like that that we do, that we work hard to be unified. And then, I also I don’t know if you wanna talk about just, community. Just making sure that we’re in community with other people, not just ourselves but.
[Veronica] Yeah, I think that’s been a really important aspect for us this last year. Proverbs 18:1 says a man who isolates himself seeks his own desire, and it’s very easy to want to isolate when you’ve gone through everything that we’ve dealt with this last year. But, we’re making sure that we are in community in daily talking to somebody in our church, and then also, looking into the, looking to the needs of the body, in the people in our church, and ministering to them in the ways that we can, because it takes the focus off of us, and it actually helps you work into some, work in somebody else’s life, and minister to them, and glorify God. And it gives you perspective, as well, of whatever is happening in your own circumstances.
[Jennifer] Gosh, that’s really good. Thank you guys so much for sharing that. So, how would you encourage those listening right now, to say yes to God, despite knowing that there will be opposition, despite knowing that hard circumstances will come, how do they, how can they say yes to God and, you know, have that courage to continue on, to keep serving people, to keep loving?
[Veronica] I think you need to take a step back, and have a bigger picture perspective. Because, if you’re stuck and you’re focused on your current circumstances and trials come, it’s really hard to get through. You need to put on the whole armor of God and have an eternal perspective.
[Dale] Kingdom perspective.
[Dale] There’s like multi-generational, like thinking about the kingdom of heaven.
[Veronica] Like, yeah, I’m looking back at this last year I’m like, you know how many more people we’re able to minister, and relate with, and empathize with, because we walk through so many different things in such a short amount of time. Yeah, I mean, God’s gonna be glorified no matter what.
[Dale] I think about, you know, there’s a passage in scripture that the Lord, I feel like, delivered to me. I was praying and asking for a scripture, and I was like God you need to give me something. I was like in tears, and I flip open my Bible, and I put my hand down straight on Second Corinthians 12:9 through 10. And it’s the verse of Jesus’ reply to Paul after begging for his trial to leave him, and he says my grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in weakness, and he ends that section with, for when I am weak, then I am strong. Jesus’ kingdom is counter-intuitive. Who’s first? The one that’s last. Who’s strong? The one that’s weak. And so, our perspective right now, is that we are the most effective we’ve ever been in ministry. Yet, we are the weakest we’ve ever been, and that is the, that perspective is so opposite of what our flesh wants to think. The alternative, for those that are worried about going into ministry because of trials, and or because of you know opposition, or because you might be persecuted for standing up for truth, I just go, I always tell people, what’s the alternative? We have to remember that we are the beneficiaries of God’s obedience, like, being obedient to God’s Word. Not God, like, it’s actually for the safest and the most joyful place that we’ll be, is in God’s will, under his word and under his ways. And I just go, you know, if you think being obedient is hard, try being disobedient. Try being outside of God’s will. See what that feels like.
[Aaron] Well yeah, and even if disobedience makes us more comfortable temporarily, it eternallydamns us, like we don’t want that. We want to be with our Father in heaven right? I love that, so the idea is that our perspective, the encouragement to those listening, is have a heavenly perspective. Like the picture is not about us, it’s that we’re a part of what God’s doing in this world, and he’s invited us to be a part of that. And when we say yes to God, it doesn’t mean you know butterflies and rainbows, for some it might, but it means effectiveness for the gospel, it means that we are obedient, wherever that leads us. And to some, it’s much more suffering than others, and for some, it’s much more prosperity than others. That’s why, you know, we don’t believe in the prosperity gospel, because it’s not universal. But that doesn’t mean some might not have, might have prosperity or not.
[Aaron] That’s not how the gospel works. It’s God’s providence it’s what God wants, and saying yes to him is the best thing we can do.
[Dale] I mean, Paul,
[Aaron] Yeah, trusting him.
[Dale] Paul talks about that he’s been in times of abundance and times of very little and we have to remember.
[Aaron] We learn to be content in both.
[Dale] Be content both, and we’ve been that way too we’ve had abundance and we’ve had the place that we’re at now. But we we always like to pick our Bible character and go yeah that’s like me. And I go I like to remind people, well, you know that 11 of the 12 apostles were martyred, right? You know that, like, the, all the prophets, not all, many of the prophets are martyred for standing for God’s truth. Jesus himself is killed. The idea is that, do we really want to be like these people? Do you really identify with John the Baptist? You know, do you really identify with James and Thomas who was said to be crucified in India?
[Aaron] Or Stephen stoned in public.
[Dale] Or Stephen you know and so these are, I think that the gospel that we have in America, or in some of the developed countries, we’ve become so comfortable, and that’s why the church has actually diminished. And where are you seeing the church growing? Wherever there’s the most suffering. And so Afghanistan, Iran, you know, Brazil, parts of middle of the Middle East.
[Aaron] North Korea, China.
[Dale] North Korea, Southeast Asia, and so I think that there is a turning of the tide that’s occurring here, that there is a political persecution, for sure, and we’re seeing this. And so, yeah, your fear of effectiveness, well, the big question is, are you willing to stand for truth? I think that’s the big thing that couples have to think about in their marriage going forward.
[Jennifer] I think that’s a great question for them to talk about. So, the last question that we have for you guys is, in your own words what is a Marriage After God?
[Dale] You wanna read it? I have a little note here that I wrote down. It’s a quote we say all the time so it’s not an awkward thing.
[Veronica] Yeah, we say it in our own podcast pretty frequently. It’s two people who love God more than they love each other.
[Aaron] Concise, I love that. And it’s true, and when you love God and you wanna say yes to him, we’re gonna receive, like just like a son with a good father. Like, we’re gonna receive whatever our father has for us and we’re gonna be okay with it. And you know we just wanna thank you guys for joining us, the insights, and you guys sharing vulnerably this season you’re in, and how you guys are still pursuing God and not just turning your faces away from him, because he’s not giving you what you deserve. Because, luckily, we don’t get what we deserve, and he gives us grace instead. So, we just wanna thank everyone for listening today, and we want everyone to take a moment and go check out the Real Christianity podcast. Just go search for them that’s Dale and Veronica’s podcast. We love them, you’re gonna be totally encouraged by the boldness, and the scripture, and just the way they are trying to share their life with the world and, yeah, so we’re gonna close in prayer, and, yeah, you wanna pray first, Jennifer?
[Jennifer] Dear Lord, we pray nothing would hinder our effectiveness and ministering to each other in marriage. We also pray nothing would hinder our effectiveness and sharing the gospel in this world. We pray you would defend us against the enemy. We pray his plans to divide us and destroy marriage would not prevail. Protect us from the enemy’s schemes. Thank you for equipping us with armor, so that we can stand firm in our faith. We pray our flesh would not get in the way of our effectiveness. Help us to have self-control and walk in wisdom. If we do experience attacks or hardships, may you be our strength, hope, and endurance, to run this race with perseverance. If our flesh does hinder us, may we confront our sin, and repent so that we may be vessels of your glory, as we share with others the power of salvation in our lives. We submit our marriages to you, and ask that you use us to do all the wonderful things you have prepared for us to do. May your name be glorified, in Jesus name, Amen.
[Aaron] So, we just wanna thank everyone for listening today. This is part two of the 16 part series for our book, Marriage After God. Please go pick up a copy of our book today, you’re not gonna want to miss out on this book. It’s shop.marriageaftergod.com, and also, stay tuned we have 14 more episodes and 14 more interviews, so, we’ll see you next week.
[Aaron] Did you enjoy today’s show? if you did, it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a review on iTunes. Also, if you’re interested, you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.