For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?Isaiah 4:27
For so many standers, there are times when we start believing the lies of the enemy and begin to waiver in our confidence that the Lord will restore our marriages. We witness our circumstances changing from bad to worse on a daily basis and see the hearts of our prodigal spouses growing harder and harder. For some, the situations are compounded due to the fact that we have failed to exercise restraint and grace while interacting with our husbands and wives. While these events certainly don’t serve to help matters, they are in no way to be seen as a “deal breaker” as it concerns God and His designs for restoration.
I remember a specific event during the course of our separation that for a time, caused me to believe I had ruined my chances for a restored marriage. The memory remains quite vivid in my mind. The specifics won’t be shared here, but in short, I had violated one of the boundaries Amy put in place for me regarding how and when personal interactions would occur. While the motive for my actions were not wrong or sinful, it was nonetheless a misguided move on my part. After the event, I retreated to the place where I was staying and completely broke down, feeling as though all hope had become lost. I fell on my knees and wept uncontrollably thinking that this time I had really done it. I was convinced Amy would never trust me again and there was absolutely nothing that could change things.
In a moment of desperation, I reached out to my pastor who had been counseling me at the time. I tearfully shared what had happened. In a kind and loving way, he responded to my emotionally charged ramblings by assuring me that I didn’t have the power to change God’s will. There was nothing I could do to stop the Lord from achieving what He desired. Hearing this was both comforting and reassuring. I eventually took this truth to heart and gained the correct perspective as it related to the power of myself, versus the power of Almighty God.
When you think about it, the notion that we can blow it, really does seem silly. The One who spoke the world into existence cannot be prevented from bringing about His will. Even if our efforts to thwart God’s plans are intentional, they will ultimately fail. We cannot stop God from accomplishing what He has purposed to do.
It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses.Jeremiah 10:12-13
It’s not possible for us to control every situation. Even if our motivations and intent are godly and pure, sometimes conflict is unavoidable. This is most certainly the case when dealing with a prodigal spouse who is running from the Lord and looking for every conceivable way to accuse, blame, and mischaracterize our words and actions. I know in those heated moments it becomes so difficult to hold our tongues, but putting on the whole armor of God will serve to protect us from ourselves. With that said, it is of great comfort to know that even if we falter and react with our flesh rather than spirit, God is still faithful to overcome and compensate for our weaknesses and constant missteps.
If you are experiencing regret, and perhaps even hopelessness right now because of things you have said or done that you feel is jeopardizing your chances for restoration, do not be disheartened. Our God is loving, forgiving, compassionate and long suffering. He knows our weaknesses. He also understands the emotions and inner conflict we face in the heat of battle. There is no part of our identity or existence that escapes Him, and He generously extends His grace to us from a well that never runs dry. May we take comfort in this as our hearts and minds become conformed to His will.
11 thoughts on “Our God is Able”
Love your posts. One question that I really struggle in this is free will. Do we not have the ability to run away from God and stay that way. Does not the prodigal spouse have that choice. Couldn’t you have chosen to harden your heart in response to your wife’s hardened heart or could not she chose to keep a hardened heart forever regardless of what God does in her life? I think that would be a great post to get both your inputs on that aspect. This is an area I really struggle with. I know God is working but I have always thought that my wife could always choose to continue to harden her heart otherwise she could not also choose to love God.
Thanks for your suggestion Mike. You are likely to see this topic come up in the near future.
Thank you. Again I so very much appreciate your ministry. May God bless your entire family abundantly!
I question that as well when people tell me my husband has free will and God will not take that. He has to choose God.
The whole chapter of Romans 9 seems to throw a monkey wrench into man’s will doesn’t trump God’s plans. Read the whole chapter here are some key verses:
Romans 9 :16,
God’s will is supreme otherwise you are limiting His omnipotence.
This also worried me as I was told the same thing. But as I studied my Bible i learned that if it were possible for our “Free Will” to override God, nobody would ever be saved. But two of my favorite characters in the Bible who will was so dead set on their own agendas are Jonah and Nebuchadnezzar. Jonah ran, as your Husband, Mikes wife, my wife, are running, and God made the circumstances just so and he had to do what God called him to do. The othrr thing I like about Jonah’s story, he wasn’t 100% better when he was back in God’s will. He still fought and was wanting his own way right up to the end of the story that we know, then God opened his eyes and he saw clearly and believed God. I’m looking forward to Tom’s post on this too.
The story of Jonah is a great example of God bringing about his will despite Jonah’s reluctance and unwillingness to fully submit. While we can choose which path to follow, the Lord in His infinite wisdom knows which path we will take. Regarding our prodigals, if the Holy Spirit continues to impress upon your heart and burdens you to pray for their salvation and/or a turning from their rebelliousness, there is a reason. Whether it’s to mold us further to His likeness or to promote the returning of a sinner to Christ, the Lord’s prompting and leading in our lives regarding our prayers and petitions to Him, serves to pave the way for His will to be brought about.
Excellent example from Jonah! Much there to chew on!
This was me a month ago when I thought I had completely blown it. But God in His infinite wisdom and mercy has shown me that He is still in control and on the throne. Praise be to Him that it is up to Him and not to me how things turn out!
Thank God for His grace and longsuffering! May He bless you Eric!