Rejoicing in Hope: First Aid for Marriage
Do you see the progression here? Rejoicing in hope -> patient in tribulation -> continuing steadfastly in prayer (Romans 12:12).
Hope can save lives. A person without hope is at risk of suicide. A person with hope—even a glimmer—finds reason to want to go on living.
The Hebrew word for hope is tiqvah (Strong’s 8615*), pronounced teek’-vah. Its literal meaning is cord. Its extended meaning is expectancy—something that’s longed for and eagerly anticipated.
The scarlet cord that Rahab placed in her window was a tiqvah cord. It literally gave her and her family the hope of being rescued from death when Joshua conquered Jericho (Joshua 2:12-18).
Rahab had recognized that God was with the Jewish people and knew it would be futile, even deadly, to oppose them. Therefore, she protected and helped the Israelite spies who had come to stake out the city of Jericho. When they left her home, which was on the city wall, they instructed her to put a scarlet cord in the window. When the Israelite army approached the city, they would see the scarlet tiqvah and rescue those inside. On that infamous day, when the ancient city of Jericho fell, only Rahab and her household were spared. The walls of Jericho came tumblin down and no one else survived.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (NASV).
In my own experience, when Jesus was invited into our marriage, its strength was multiplied. My husband was not a Christian when we got married. Yes, we were unequally yoked together and, no, I don’t recommend that kind of marriage. Our early years were filled with trials, hurt, and discontent. Many marriages would not have survived what we went through.
Finally, when my husband got born-again, becoming a Christ follower, things changed dramatically. Jesus became the third strand in the cord that held our marriage. He brought hope and renewed love into our relationship and our home. I no longer suffered under the dark cloud of concern that our two sons would become victims of a broken home.
Though I sincerely thought there was little hope for our marriage, I continued to hope we would make it. I remember thinking, “If something doesn’t change, a year from now we will not be together.”
Because I knew my God, I found reason to rejoice in the small ray of hope. With God’s help, I was “patient in the tribulation.” When a friend challenged me saying, “How’s your prayer life?” I recognized it was lacking. That’s when I began to continue “steadfastly in prayer.”
It was at about that time I read the chapter titled, “Love Your Husband to Christ,” in Beverly LaHaye’s book, The Spirit-Controlled Woman. I could see that my waning love for my husband needed a boost and that my prayer life needed to intensify. For the sake of our children, I asked God to help me in both of those areas—and He did.
It was evident to me that my love for him, which began to grow, was beyond my own capacity at that time. And that unconditional love gave me a greater unction to pray for him. In less than a year, it happened—we were no longer unequally yoked.
If you lack hope in any area of your life, I want to ask you this question: “How’s your prayer life?” If it’s lacking, get it in gear. “The effective prayer of a righteous man (or woman) can accomplish much” (James 5:16b). [Parentheses mine]
Let the tiqvah cord from God—the hope and expectancy of good things—come into your spirit because He is well able to make a way where there seems to be no way (Isaiah 43:19).
With Him, hope gives us the power to look up (Luke 21:28); gives us the strength to go on (Psalm 46:1-3); and makes a way when circumstances are bleak (Hosea 2:15). Follow Paul’s instructions in Romans 12, which includes rejoicing in hope, being patient in tribulation, and continuing in steadfast prayer.
Honoring God and following godly instructions will always yield good results. I'm not saying everything will then be perfect, but the end result will be for our good. I’m sure glad I took Paul's advice over forty-five years ago. I hope you will too.
©Copyright 2019 Connie Wohlford
* “Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary,” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Crusade Bible Publishers, Inc., Nashville, TN - 1890, page 126.