The marriage union God has given
To be a type and taste of heaven.
Faithful in Adversity
The marriage union God has given
To be a type and taste of heaven.
Both man and wife He means to bless,
Increasing earthly happiness,
But in the case of Martha Hall,
It didn’t work that way at all.
The lot that fell to her through time,
Was her misfortune, not her crime.
Job’s friends would find in her the fault,
And so her character assault,
But suffering isn’t always sent
To those deserving punishment.
Sometimes to lift the favored up,
God gives them first a bitter cup.
The wickedness of selfish man
He uses to fulfil this plan.
Thus, sorrows Martha had to face
Became a sanctifying grace.
The man she wed and thought would be
A haven of security,
A comfort to her longing heart,
And to her soul a counterpart,
Though outwardly a seeming fit,
Was shortly proved a hypocrite.
When in her house a maid gave birth,
The servants thought the girl not worth
Their timely and their needed aid,
For they despised the unwed maid.
When Martha asked what cause they had,
She learned her husband was the dad.
Though wracked herself with untold pain,
Yet Martha saw her duty plain.
She looked in pity on the maid,
And gave her still the needed aid.
Her husband, pleased with such a wife,
Reformed a while his wicked life.
The mending didn’t last for long.
He soon returned to going wrong.
A godly man he once appeared,
But through the years his conscience seared.
At length he openly avowed
That he was numerous “wives” allowed.
One time when he a girl beguiled,
He brought his wife the bastard child;
With orders placed it in her hands —
And she obeyed the base commands.
A crib she dutifully prepared
And for the needy infant cared.
Without a word, she meekly bore
Both this abuse, and much, much more.
Although he filled it with disgrace,
She honoured his God-given place.
Without reproach or bitter whines,
She even helped his concubines.
When asked how she could do such things,
Her answer many a conscience stings:
Not as a woman do I act,
But as a Christian, bound by pact.
Oh, who has faith to do the same?
And who will such a calling claim?
How little do we wives endure,
And yet don’t act at all like her!
How quick we are with a complaint;
How quick to blame; how quick to faint;
How quick to justify a course
That could end up in a divorce!
A man may fail to rise above
The weakness of his promised love,
May fail to honor, fail to guide,
Nor for his wife’s true needs provide,
Yet when her brightest hopes are crushed,
Let even just complaints be hushed!
O woman, fix on Christ your eyes;
Above your troubles you may rise.
Perhaps your bliss is incomplete;
Your earthly prospects not so sweet;
It lies in your own interest still
To meekly bend your stubborn will.
Although the journey can be rough,
The end is sure, and blest enough:
For Martha now is with her Lord,
And e’en on earth had this reward,
That when her husband came to die,
She was an angel! was his cry.
~ Nita Brainard
* 1707-1791, Martha Hall was the next younger sister to John Wesley.  The details of this story are substantiated in Memoirs of the Wesley Family by Adam Clarke


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