Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.James 5:16
Coming to grips with the responsibility and role we may have played in helping create an environment fertile and ripe for divorce is a tough pill to swallow. Oftentimes we don’t become fully aware of how selfish and sinful behaviors can affect our spouses until it is too late. For me, when I finally looked in the mirror and became aware of what I had become, my wife’s heart had grown cold and calloused. Sadly, we hear so many similar stories from standers who waited too long before they realized the error and foolishness of their ways. So often it’s only when they’ve heard the words, “It’s over” does there become an awareness of the need for true and genuine repentance.
Shortly after being asked to leave our home, I desperately looked for ways to express sorrow and remorse to my wife. Phone calls, letters, text messages… I exhausted all the options I had at my fingertips. Nothing was getting through. I remember thinking to myself that if she only knew how sincere I was, her mind would change. But as the days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and months into years, the more I realized and understood the unforgiveness reigning in her heart could not be brought down by mere words alone.
My pastor, who had been counseling with me at the time, shared a music video he thought I’d relate to. From the first moment I heard it, I was moved. So perfectly did this song capture what I was feeling and thinking on the inside, that it became an instant favorite and to this day, occupies a special place in my heart. The lyrics captured the very essence of my emotions at the time and effectively expressed what I was unable to with my own words.
Over the next several days, I found myself listening to this song constantly and felt a strong desire to share it with my wife. I hesitated and waffled back and forth over whether or not I should. Ultimately, I decided to go ahead and do it. In my text message to her, I remember saying something along the lines of, “This song was shared with me and I was deeply moved by it. It sums up what I’ve wanted to say to you for a long time.” I sent the message on a cool Saturday morning with low expectations for a positive reaction from Amy. A little while later, while on my way to a local park with our boys, I received a text message back simply saying, “Thank you for sharing this…” There was no sarcasm or anything close to what resembled so many of the other messages I’d been used to receiving. I was very grateful for this and thanked the Lord the communication was received with the right spirit. I prayed that God would take the song’s message and use it to speak to Amy’s heart.
We never spoke of that shared experience until after the Lord brought us back together. When we did, I was surprised to learn how deeply the song had moved her. Amy informed me that after hearing it for the first time, she finally began to understand how truly sorry I was for everything. Up to that point, she would have told you that any expressed sorrow on my end was done solely with the motivation of fixing our marriage. In other words, it wasn’t genuine. But after hearing the message of the song, her perspective dramatically changed. I was also quite surprised to learn that she would often cry herself to sleep at night while listening to it. Although the piece wasn’t enough to change her mind about going through with the divorce, it did ultimately have an impact. Over time, it served to help soften and quell the anger inside her heart. God used this powerful song to touch my prodigal. There is no doubt about it in my mind. To this day, I still get choked up and emotional when listening to it.
We can’t ever be sure of what or who God is going to use to help bring our prodigals home. One thing is certain though. He can use anything or anyone, even a song like this. Perhaps you find yourself in a situation where you are living with sadness and regret over the role you may have played in hardening your spouse’s heart. If this is the case, please know and understand that if you have confessed the sin to God, He has forgiven you. If you have gone to your prodigal in the hopes of seeking forgiveness and your efforts have been callously rebuffed, do not lose heart. Forgiveness and healing can often take extended periods of time. The “quick fix” solution that exists in some of our minds must be overcome if we have committed to remain in this battle for the long haul. We need to acknowledge that it is God who determines how and when restoration will occur. Yes, we have a role to play, but we will never be in a position to control or manipulate the hearts and minds of our prodigals. Let the Lord do what only He can, and while you wait, continue to walk humbly and with perseverance as you travel down this road.