Challenges, Dating Your Spouse, Devotions

Husband in Pursuit: Into the Wild

Having a morning routine is like an anchor for my day. But all too often I’m content skipping what matters most: time with God. If I oversleep or grab my phone too quickly, I’ll lose track of time and get caught up with whatever tasks are on my plate for the day. I may read a verse somewhere online or say a half-hearted prayer, but it’s never as focused or in-depth as a morning quiet time—it never fills me up.

So I begin to coast down the road of life; I shift out of gear, drop it into neutral, and let my momentum carry me forward. All seems fine as I reminisce about memories of intimacy with God, all the while sliding steadily into self-reliance. If enough time passes, I’ll settle into a new morning routine that excludes dedicated time with God entirely. Eventually, I crash and burn. Life gets hilly, my momentum slows, and soon I roll backward or careen off the road entirely.

It’s not a cycle I’m proud of, but it’s the truth. Consider this passage:

When Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a
desolate place by himself . . . and after he had dismissed the
crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When
evening came, he was there alone.
~ Matthew 14:13, 23

These verses are bookends around Jesus’ miraculous feeding of five thousand people (probably more) with only five loaves of bread and two fish. As we read, we get a strong sense of Jesus’ reliance on the Father. He was depleted and in need of restoration. If Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, needed exclusive time with God, how much more do we? How much more do our wives?

The people of God need to hear his voice. A day without Scripture and prayer does to your soul what a day without water does to your physical body. Yesterday’s portion may sustain you for a little while, but you will inevitably grow thirsty and dry—you will die. God graciously built rhythms and cycles into life: sleep to refresh the body and seasons to reset the earth.

When the Israelites traversed the desert, God provided daily bread—manna from heaven—for their sustenance (Psalm 78:24). Every morning they were tasked with gathering only enough for that day; any extra would rot. God could have easily provided a less perishable food source, so why didn’t he? He understood their need for daily dependence on him. Just as I do, they constantly battled self-reliance. The perishable manna was another one of God’s sovereign acts of love and pursuit designed to keep God’s people close—to hold their hands through the desert, despite their childish protests and insistence on independence. Our God knows we need him daily.

God is pursuing your heart, as a man and as a husband, every time he lets you reach the end of yourself. Your limits are God-designed! They’re a call to the wilderness—to stop, pray, read God’s word, and commune with him. Your spiritual hunger, tiredness, and thirst are all constant reminders of your desperate need for Jesus.

When you’re tired, rest in God’s sovereignty. When you’re worried, trust in God’s peace. When you’re losing patience, remember God’s patient and active love in Christ. And when you’re thirsty and dry, run to the well of God’s word and find refreshment in Christ’s living water. It’s one of God’s greatest graces to allow us to grow tired and hungry daily! We need constant reminding of our limitations so we learn to trust in our limitless God.

As a husband, you can only lead your family as you are led by Christ. You can’t do that if you’re coasting on memories of your relationship with God. Jesus couldn’t live without the Father, how can we expect to survive without him? Learn the way into the wild by following Jesus there. Then, lead your wife by giving her time to do the same.

Your bride also needs daily refreshment. And, if your wife is at all like mine (especially if you have children), she doesn’t often feel the freedom or have time to escape to the wilderness. As her husband, it’s part of your job to push her lovingly into the wild—to the secluded places where she can meet with and be refreshed by God. If she’s not met with God recently, she likely feels tired, depleted, and dry. You can bless her by helping her find wilderness—by showing her to the trailhead that leads to an encounter with God. Sometimes the best way to pursue your bride is to stay behind and watch as God pursues her.

Reflection Questions

(Feel free to comment with your answers, or just think about them for a bit.)

  1. Do you regularly venture into the wild with the sole purpose of meeting with God? What are the most rewarding times you’ve spent alone?
  2. How can your wife benefit from opportunities to spend time alone with God?

Pray

Ask God to help you find time, intention, and opportunity for both of you to seek him.

Pursuit Challenge (for husbands)

Give your wife the gift of time. Give her a “free pass” to spend two hours however she needs to most. No strings attached! Suggest she go for a walk, grab a coffee, read, or just spend some time in focused worship and prayer.

If you have kids, take them off her hands. Do whatever you can to pursue and serve her by giving her the time she needs to venture “into the wild.”

About Husband in Pursuit

This article is an excerpt from Husband in Pursuit: 31 Daily Challenges for Loving Your Wife Well. Every marriage begins with passion, purpose, and pursuit, but few stay that way. Husband in Pursuit helps men love their brides intentionally in creative, fun, and sometimes challenging ways.


The 31-Day Pursuit Challenge

There’s also a version for wives called Wife in Pursuit: 31 Daily Challenges for Loving Your Husband Well. Together, they make what we’re calling the 31-Day Pursuit Challenge. Couples are encouraged take the challenge together. We’re already starting to hear stories of transformed marriages! Are you up for the challenge?

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