This past weekend, I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days with my adult son Quilan for our father-son getaway. This year we went to Atlantic City New Jersey. It was a great time of conversation, bible reading, and prayer—not typically the things most associated with one of America's prominent gambling cities. We talked about a lot of things; however, my son made a statement that I wanted to share. He said that in a conversation with one of his friends they discussed the difference between God's revelation and the actual release of that revelation. I think there is a lot of wisdom in that distinction, especially when we consider God's plans for our marriages.
Understanding God's Reveal
The abundant Christian life depends on hearing God’s voice. This is not always easy. Sometimes, it's a clear and audacious reveal. I experienced one of these in 1997 when a visiting pastor from Oregon visited our Washington DC church and spoke an extraordinary prophetic word that directly led me and my family to California and enroll at Fuller Theological Seminary’s Marriage and Family Therapy program. In this instance, God’s voice hit smack dab in the middle of the face. There is no way that I could mistake it.
Other times, God’s voice operates more like that ‘still small voice’ that the prophet Elijah discerned (1 Kings 19:12) when he was hiding in a cave from the wicked Queen Jezebel. Personally, I find this reveal more difficult. But, I too have heard that still small voice. For example, I vividly recall a number of years ago time when I was deeply hurt by the actions of my son, Quilan. I was so upset with him that I was emotionally distancing from him. That distancing was also creating tension between my wife Dalia and me. I justified my ungodly attitude because of the ethical and moral lapse in judgement that Quilan had showed. Yet, within the bowels of my soul, I felt the Holy Spirit discreetly direct me to apologize to Quilan. I felt incredulous. Yet, I complied and authentically apologized to Quilan for not being emotionally there for him. Quilan and I had always had a strong bond. But, that apology deepened our relationship in a powerful way.
Rest assured that as you commit to living out godliness that God will reveal his will for your life and your marriage. However, far too often, many of us couples disbelieve God’s revelation. I think there are several prominent reasons you disbelieve the reveal:
It feels too big to be true
It requires too much of a sacrifice and/or time
It would push you outside your comfort zone
It pushes fear buttons with you
You doubt your spouse will support it
You don’t have enough funds
You don’t know ’the right’ people
You don’t see how all the pieces fit together
Many Christian marriages languish in mediocrity—content to raise kids, work jobs, pay bills, and go to church. All of these are wonderful things to accomplish. But, do they represent God’s full reveal in your marriage?
For some of you, God is not only calling you to raise your kids but to build organizations or endowments that invest in the future of youth. Look at the work Bill and Melinda Gates (of Microsoft fame) have accomplished for children all over the world through their Gates Foundation.
Maybe God is not just asking you to work your job but is revealing a business opportunity where you provide jobs for others. How many overtly faith-based entrepreneurs have had more values and employment success than founder Cathy Truitt and the Chick-Fil-A behemoth? Truitt's daughter describes to CBN News how they are in business to glorify God.
What if God is not just saying to pay your bills but revealing a system where you can teach other couples how to manage their money and debt? Consider the multi-generational impact of financial guru Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University in transforming the money habits and debt freedom of tens of thousands of Christian couples.
For some of you, God may not be just asking you to go to church but rather God is revealing an uncommon ministry that he desires you to unleash and steward.
But, here is the question. How is your mindset as a couple limiting your ability to hear God’s revelation?
Anticipating The Release
In 1924, Doane Robinson had a revelation for a national monument that would come to be known as Mount Rushmore. Robinson’s goals was to create an attraction that would draw people from all over the country to his state of South Dakota. Robinson’s revelation was audacious to say the least—a sculpture of the faces of four of the most famous U.S. presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln—each face would be 60-feet high and carved into the granite of the mountain (actually, Robinson's original vision was to have a sculpture from head to waist; however, funding restriction resulted in faces only). Robinson contacted a sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, to discuss the project. The project officially began in 1927. However, it took fourteen years (1941) and nearly one million dollars before these four president’s face were released from the granite face in the Black Hills of Keystone, South Dakota. Robinson had a revelation that took nearly one and a half decades, 400 workers, and detonation of 800 tons of granite to release.
God’s fullest revelation for your marriage may take time to manifest. Pursue it anyway.
It may take more money than you have. Fund it with what you have.
It may feel too big for you. Grow into it.
I have discovered that many times, God’s revelation is the latch to unlock your mind to what is possible. You and your spouse, however, often need to become the couple who is worthy of that revelation. When God reveals something that feels too big for you, he is signaling to you that within you lies a bigger marriage.
Just as Mount Rushmore was always there waiting to be released in the Black Hills of Keystone, South Dakota, God’s vision for you is already there waiting to be released. But, it isn’t enough to have the vision. You also need to find the one who will help sculpt its reality. And, the reveal must always be released in your marriage before it can impact the world.
In 2016, God revealed to me a vision for one thousand Christian couples gathered for a spiritual revival for marriage. That revelation touched all of my panic buttons that I described earlier. However, Dalia and I committed to its pursuit. It has cost us in many ways. However, it cannot be any other way. We have to become the couple worthy of this vision that we call ‘Eusebeia’—which means ‘godly reverence’.
While we are certainly a work-in-progress, there is no question that God has provided in ways large and small. He has surrounded us with amazing people who have a passion for God and marriage. He has provided enough funds for us to keep moving. We are far from the one thousand couples but we are embracing the incremental gains until the full release manifests. I hope that our story encourages you to lean in to God’s revelation for you. We would love for you to be counted among that one thousand Christian couples.
In the end, your obedience to God is to act on the revelation. Listen for the Lord’s signature in the loud and small voices that touch your spirit. Remember that often these revelations come through others. Remember that you cannot control the outcome. You can only influence the process while allowing the process to shape you. Finally, wait expectantly for God’s full release of his plan in his way and timing. Like Mount Rushmore, your marriage will be a monument to a God whose work transcends you.
Pastor Rick Warren shares a compelling message about thriving during the period between the revelation and the release. I pray that it blesses you.