Nick Saban, who has been the head football coach at the University of Alabama since 2007, was recently quoted as saying something along the lines of, “You gotta work your system, even when the results aren’t there, and trust they will come in due time.” If you know anything about college football, you know the results have come for Nick. He is one of the most successful coaches around.

Part of God’s maturity system for some of us is marriage. But marriage can be hard, and especially so when one is married to an unbeliever. But that doesn’t mean we quit working the system, does it?

My father-in-law John and mother-in-law Carrie were not Christians when they married. Along the way Carrie became a Christian and experienced a profound and lasting transformation. Not so with John. Among other things, God used her marriage, her kids, and her life circumstances to form her more into the image of Christ. And all along the way John just watched. He wasn’t interested in the least bit. He didn’t discourage her walk with God or her spiritual leadership of their three daughters, he just didn’t participate. And he didn’t leave. He wanted to be married to her. He loved her deeply.

As Carrie stuck in there, she didn’t have any specific promises that God would save John, but she did have the hopeful “For how do you know?” of verse 16. I believe she held tight to that as she lived out her life of faith and growth in front of him. No one has ever had more of a front row seat to watch the transforming grace of God working in a life than John.

In the year 2000 Carrie was unexpectedly called home to heaven. Her race was finished. She did so well. But John was still unmoved by the gospel…until about five to seven years later. I’m sure my wife remembers the day vividly when her dad called and shared the news that he had committed his life to Christ. It sure seemed out of the blue for us. But what great news!

Carrie had worked the system, trusting God would bring the results He had ordained. And brought them, He did. She grew in the grace and knowledge of Christ, and in due time her husband was won over and converted. And while I know not every story ends like this did, we can all have full assurance, as we follow Christ, that He will grow us to maturity, that He loves our spouses even more than we do, and that He will work in their lives for His glory.

As we close out today’s devotional, just remember this – He’s got a plan and He’s got your marriage in His hands.

Scott Smith
Connection and Growth Pastor

Subscribe to the Daily Fill