In this episode of the Purposed Marriage podcast, we discuss how to find hope in the midst of trials and tribulation that accompany separation and divorce.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”2 Timothy 3:16 ESV
Have you ever wondered why spouses determined to leave their marriage avoid listening to truth like the plague? For the stander, attempting to engage his or her prodigal in an attempt to get at the core reason for their desire to quit the marriage becomes an exercise in futility and utter frustration. But if one understands how the enemy works, and the depth of deception that becomes entrenched in a person’s heart and mind, it is easily discernable.
It is no wonder why those pursuing divorce go to great lengths to avoid difficult and pointed conversations. The last thing one running from the Lord wants is to be exposed through the light of Scripture. The truth of God’s word strikes at the heart and reveals the evil intent of our fleshly desires. It is this penetrative nature of the Gospel that exposes the sin and shameful ambitions they so willingly pursue.
Shortly after our separation, but prior to our actual divorce, I remember a conversation with my precious wife. In this particular exchange I was accused of being like a Pharisee for strictly adhering and advocating for an embrace of God’s view of marriage and a rejection of divorce. According to my wife at the time, this “narrow” and “non-negotiable” view didn’t consider the “spirit” of the law, and from her point of view, I was the one who had it all wrong. Needless to say, after reminding my wife that it was the Pharisees who actually exalted divorce and that Jesus condemned it, the conversation abruptly ended. No further discussion was to be had. In fact, if I was to dare bring it up again, all future communication would consequently be conducted through our lawyers.
I knew I had struck a nerve with what I had said. To be honest, it wasn’t my intent to anger her or cause further hostility between us. That said, it wasn’t my words that invoked the spirited response. Rather, it was the truth of God’s word that pierced her soul. I was simply the messenger.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”Hebrews 4:12 ESV
As you continue to stand and fight for your marriage, you will most certainly encounter situations when you are confronted with unbridled anger and harshness. Take solace in the fact that it is not necessarily you who is the object of his or her wrath. A prodigal’s war is with Almighty God. Those who speak His truth from their lips will always be met with the exact same levels of resistance from God’s enemies.
With the help of the Holy Spirit and those whom God has placed in your life to walk alongside you in this journey, determine to not allow the aversion to truth by your deceived prodigal to damped your drive and pursuit of restoration. Recognize that Christ has the power to transform even the greatest of sinners into vessels that fully embrace the heart of the gospel. I witnessed this first-hand, and if Jesus can do this for my wife, He can most certainly do it for your spouse as well.
I am convinced, divorce is one of the darkest and loneliest trials a person can face. Counseling others through separation and divorce, I’m often reminded of the deep hurt and pain that’s inflicted during the process. The anguish can be all-consuming, making simple tasks like eating, sleeping and getting dressed feel impossible. God created Adam a helpmate suitable in Eve because His design for marriage was life-long companionship. When marriages crumple and one or both spouses head down the path towards divorce, there is a ripping away of the one-flesh covenant. The pain is excruciating, and at times the suffering seems almost unbearable.
Thankfully, we have an ever-present Father. He hears us when we bury our heads in the pillow each night and silently cry ourselves to sleep. He’s alert when we shout out in desperation pleading with Him to save our marriages day after day. Our Savior longs to hear from us, and tells us to cast all our burdens upon Him because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Perhaps you are crying out to the Lord, but have you released your worries into his hands? Have you surrendered everything? God’s greatest work begins in us when we recognize we have nothing left to offer and nothing else to give but ourselves. Our fully surrendered life is what the Father is after.
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
Surrender is not a once and done task in the life of a believer. It is to be lived out daily, hour by hour and minute by minute. We must actively choose not to withhold anything from God. Unconditional surrender means to completely release control, trusting that the One to whom we surrender has a better plan for our lives than we do. Right now your marriage may be topsy-turvy, and your future may feel uncertain. If you find yourself fighting for control or feel overwhelmed by fear and anxiety, that’s a sign you need to release your situation over to the Lord and turn away from doing things your way.
When we release control, that’s when we find healing. For freedom is not obtained by our control, but through our surrender. We must trust and believe our loving Father’s promises from scripture, especially when we walk through life’s valleys.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
God will not waste your season of suffering, friends! He uses our trials for our good and His Glory!