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Just dropping by ... Seal the boats with courage

Yevet Tenney Published on 17 October 2014

In the last few articles, I have focused on “burning boats” at the beginning of marriage, leaving no escape routes. I have written about burning boats and building new ones. There is one more sealer that must be put on new boats to keep them floating in the turbulent waters of adversity where every marriage must float.

That covering is a sealant that comes from unflinching courage. The kind of courage I am talking about is the “young shepherd’s courage.” You remember the story of David and Goliath.



David grew up watching over his family’s sheep in Bethlehem. I am sure each one of his eight brothers took their turn, but David was the youngest, and it was his assignment. One morning, Jesse, David’s father, told David to take food to his older brothers, who had enlisted in the armies of Saul, to see how they were doing in the battle.

For 40 days, the Philistines had chided the Israelites with their champion, Goliath. Now Goliath was no small fellow. The Bible says he was six cubits and a span. According to this website, a cubit was between 17 and 20 inches long.

Six times 20 makes Goliath about 120 inches tall, of course that makes him a daunting adversary in any group of men. Not only was Goliath huge, he was arrogant and obnoxious. He strutted about in his armor shouting and taunting the people of Israel, who cowered under his challenge.

David looked over the situation and “said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” I wonder what Saul thought looking at this teenager who had so much confidence. “Is this guy crazy? Is he for real?”

Something in David’s confidence about the Lord helping him kill a lion and a bear or Saul’s desperation for a champion told him to allow David to go into battle. Whatever the case, he gave David his armor and sword.


That was the least he could do. David rejected the King’s armor, which shows what kind of character David had. Many teenagers would have jumped at the chance to “strut his stuff” by wearing the royal attire, but David was in tune with the Lord and had a sense of his mission.

David took his staff and picked up five stones and put them in his bag and readied his sling. He ran to meet Goliath. I love his response to the chiding of the colossal Philistine.

David knew in whom he trusted. He had a purpose and direction to his life. His mission was clear, and he had the courage to face his adversary with the firmness of his conviction. Of course, he was successful. He climbed on top of his adversary and raised the sword of victory.

What does this have to do with marriage? There are so many false doctrines floating on the winds of the world. Marriage is not necessary; marriage can be between more than one spouse; marriage can be between any and all genders; marriage is a worn-out creed just like most of God’s laws. We don’t need it anymore.

A successful marriage must have a mission as firm as the one David had in his heart. It must have a real and meaningful purpose. The married couple needs to have the courage to pull themselves back to that mission on a daily basis.

David was not seeking his own mission. He was seeking to do what the Lord wanted him to do. He had found his strength, and he knew where it came from. Modern married couples can draw on that same strength. The catch is: What is the Lord’s plan for marriage? Why did he want men and women to marry? His mission has not changed and will not change because “God is the same yesterday, today and forever.”


The Lord expected Adam and Eve to multiply and replenish the earth. He told Noah and his sons to be “fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” That was the prime purpose of marriage. The world seems to have forgotten that purpose of marriage.

Children are an afterthought, even an inconvenience, in our world. Pets seem to be more welcome than children in some households. In some places, children are considered mistakes that can be erased with a pill or surgery.

The purpose of marriage hasn’t changed in God’s eyes. Marriage is designed to make a safe place for children to grow up and continue the human race. Now does that mean children are the sole purpose of marriage? “No.”

Men and women are to become one flesh, meaning they are to learn to be equal partners in all they do, caring for each other as they would care for their own body. They are to become one in purpose and mission – to become Christ-like. They are to make a difference first in themselves and then to the world around them. We all have a mission to make the world a better place to live.

I know sad stories of couples who abandoned ship when one spouse got sick. Some marriages became too difficult when the children started misbehaving. There are marriages that hit the rocks of a violent sea when their finances get out of control.

There are marriages that fold when one spouse is unfaithful or becomes dishonest in his or her dealings. Some marriages shatter at the very appearance of Goliath. The only hope married couples have is the same hope David had. The God of Israel.

Building a relationship with our God is the only hope we have to make it through the adversity in which we must pass. How do we build that relationship? The first step is a desire to believe that God is real and that He can help us. Let that desire fill our souls to the point we want to really ask in faith, “God, are you really there? Please let me know.” End your heartfelt prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

A feeling of unspeakable joy will fill your soul, and you will know that you really have a loving Father in Heaven. That is only the beginning. From that point on, read and study His word. Get to know Christ by the stories you read about His life. Talk to Him about your problems. Ask for specific answers to those problems, and expect answers.

Answers will surely come – not always the way we expect. Sometimes the Lord will send us messages through other people. Sometimes we will find scriptures that give us direction. Sometimes the answer takes a while to sort out. Some answers come in miracles of circumstances being changed, but that is not always the case.

Sometimes problems are not taken away. Sometimes answers to problems come with a renewed ability to face them with courage. God knows us better than we do ourselves. He knows what we need to grow and become strong in this life. He knows before we ask, but it helps us to be able to sort through our options as we pray about what we should do.

David did not all of a sudden face Goliath with unflinching courage. He had faced a bear and a lion. He had learned by his experience that the Lord would be with him. David had to have spent time getting to know the Lord.

He had to have spent time testing his ability to trust the Lord with his problems, just as he had spent time practicing with his sling. Practice is so important. Married couples have to practice and prepare for adversity by getting to know the Lord in peaceful times. Courage comes from learning to trust that all will turn out right as the little adversities come.

Marriages that are built on prayer will never fail because God is right there in the boat all the time. He knows the waters, and He knows the shoreline, and more importantly, He knows the sailors in the boat. PD