Finding God in the Midst of Trials

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.

Luke 6:12

Those standing for their marriages after being abandoned by a straying spouse will attest to the fact that during this painful season, there can be, and are extended periods where it feels as though God’s voice has gone silent.

For so many, the perceived lack of action by God is often misinterpreted as an abandoning of sorts; or better yet, a refusal of God to hear our prayers. But this short-sided and narrow perspective is not one that is Biblical. A better understanding of how our communication with the Father works comes only with maturity, a filling of humility, and a receptive heart.

Far too often, we as believers lay our petitions and burdens before the Father with expectations of how the answers will come. We set artificial parameters that essentially place God in a box, and when events don’t unfold the way we see fit, we blame God for not hearing us and refusing to listen. The fact of the matter is, God does hear us and He is answering our prayers. We are simply too blind and focussed on self to recognize when or how His voice is being spoken.

Like many in our listening audience, during the time of my separation and divorce, I would often times be pre-occupied with the trappings of daily life and the hectic nature of balancing single-parenthood with work, church, and my spiritual war with the enemy. The moments I was able to “get away” in order to spend solitary time with God were few and far between. But as I matured in my faith, and benefited from Godly influences the Lord had placed in my life, I began to understand the importance of being intentional about the intimacy God desires with us.

In this “quest” to draw closer to my creator, the magnificence of God’s glory and power seems to be most visible and apparent in the midst of the wondrous nature that exists just outside our manufactured, urban environments. In the case of one living in East Tennessee, my escape to this place of solace meant an excursion to the Cumberland Mountains, which in my case, just so happened to be a few miles away.

I can remember one particular Saturday in the month of July, when I decided to take a day trip to the mountains by myself. I wasn’t a seasoned hiker, and to be honest, was quite naive as it related to the “dos” and “don’ts” of solitary trekking. As a result of my unpreparedness for this particular journey, not too far in, I began to grow tired and weary. But like a man on a mission, I was determined to reach the trail’s end. I pressed on despite the physical pain and very real possibility that I may have taken the wrong path. Given my proclivity for making wrong decisions up to that point, this was a real possibility.

Fortunately, my sense of direction didn’t completely fail me and I was able to stay the course. At about the midway point, I came to a resting place. I allowed my heart rate to settle and my heavy breathing to slow. In that moment of calmness, and in the midst of God’s creation, I was able to focus my mind and spirit on the goodness of the Lord. I was reminded of the fact that as long as I kept my eyes focussed on Him, the path I was to take would be made clear.

In many ways, the hike that day was a metaphor for the experiences and trials I would face in the foreseeable future. There were many distractions and alternative routes I could have taken that would have led to destruction. This was a real danger. The journey itself was also physically painful and caused the confidence I had in my ability to arrive at the final destination to be second guessed. How often does this line of questioning surface in the mind of the individual standing for his or her marriage? Truth be told, it’s a common occurrence.

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:12-13

I didn’t have any sort of “supernatural” experience that day in the mountains spending time alone with God. I didn’t hear an audible voice instructing me to do this or that as it related to my future journey. For me, “finding God” in the midst of my fiery trial was strictly a matter of being still and listening. Taking in the sheer majesty of His creation and knowing that in the midst of all the glory laid before me, I had redeeming value as a child of the Eternal King, strengthened my spirit and increased my confidence and certainty of God’s ability to see me through the difficult season I felt trapped in.

Perhaps you are currently seeking the Lord but not finding Him. Rest assured, He is there, despite the stormy clouds that blur our vision. Consider temporarily throwing off the distractions and noise that can so easily cause us to lose sight of His presence. Escape to a place where you will be alone; a place where you will be able to focus and delight in His goodness and grace. God promises to make His presence known and felt for those who seek it. In those cherished moments, allow the Holy Spirit to comfort and strengthen your soul as you determine to follow Him faithfully, wherever the road He has placed you on leads.

In Christ,

Tommy Larson

Healing and Reconciliation

God’s Ways are Higher

HighEr (1)

During our pause, when Tommy was actively pursuing restoration, one thing he often reminded me was our marriage would never be the same. What he meant was our marriage could be so much more than I ever imagined. It would never go back to being the loveless marriage that lacked passion as it did in previous years. If we reconciled, we wouldn’t be two strangers merely coexisting in a shared space. Tommy assured me His heart had been transformed and he longed for the same oneness I desired. He spoke about loving me and serving as the dedicated leader, protector and provider our family needed.

It took a while before I listened, and even longer to trust him and recognize the sincerity of his claims. I knew he meant what he said because it wasn’t a rehearsed speech, rather, it was detailed and heartfelt. I could hear the emotions in the tone of his voice as he talked about our future together. When he addressed the subject of reconciliation, it was never discussed with selfish motives or intent. It was always approached from a perspective that sought to love and serve me. Tommy believed we could have the beautiful, loving relationship God intended, and the more passionate he was, the more I started believing in his vision.

Admittedly, I did not welcome his ideas at first. But, God used Tommy’s foresight and persistence to chip away my hardened heart and I began envisioning a second chance for our marriage. He prayed fervently for me, constantly seeking to stay attuned to the voice of the Holy Spirit and would only talk about our future together when he felt prompted. He asked God to soften my heart and looked for opportunities to share especially when he knew I had an openness and willingness to listen.

I needed to hear Tommy wanted to start afresh, with no desire to return to the marriage in the state we left it. At the time, I did not think it was possible to rekindle our relationship because it was seemingly dead. But, Praise the Lord, God’s thoughts are not my thoughts nor are His ways my ways.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Our gracious Heavenly Father exceeded every expectation I had for my marriage. When God restored our relationship, He gave Tommy and I a double portion of love for one another and ignited a passion in us that I didn’t know could exist. Every trait I desired in a husband was fulfilled in Tommy because his attributes were lining up with those of Christ.

When I was fully immersed in my sin, I looked at Tommy with contempt and ambivalence. Thankfully, Tommy had an army of warriors praying for me and my attempts to ignore the Holy Spirit were weakened due to their prayers on my behalf. I was convicted and soon the strongholds in my life were no longer holding me captive. The veil was lifted from my eyes and I saw Tommy as the changed man he had become, as well as the soulmate I had always desired.

Dear friends, I cannot express the importance of praying for your partner and building a network of prayer warriors to intercede on their behalf. You may find yourself in the same situation we were in years ago when all hope seemed lost in reviving our relationship. I want to encourage you to pray for your loved one and stay attuned the the Holy Spirit’s prompting. When you feel led, share a few details of how God has changed your heart–talk about what life could be like in the future. Of course, you don’t want to overwhelm your loved one, but little reminders of a bright, new future may inspire your partner to start envisioning life with you instead of without you. Never underestimate the power of prayer. Even when things look hopeless, the good news is, our ways are not God’s ways. His ways are higher so let’s leave the big tasks in the hands of our mighty Father.

In Christ,
Amy Larson

Uncategorized, Waiting on God

We Walk by Faith, Not by Sight

Copy of We walk by faith, not by sight.

The day I had dreaded for over a year was finally upon me. The scheduled mediation where Amy and I would formally and legally divide our belongings was underway. My emotions were in tatters and I struggled to stay composed throughout the proceedings. Feelings of regret, despair, and disbelief all seemed to be consuming my heart and mind at the same time. The woman I had ten years earlier stood alongside in our marriage ceremony and had made an oath to never leave, was about to be legally removed from my side.

During the mediation I can remember pleading with God to intervene and stop what was taking place. I knew what His word said about divorce and couldn’t believe it was His perfect will that the events unfolding before my eyes were a part of His plan for my life, as well as the lives of my children and covenant wife. How could this be happening? Where was God?

Of course, even though I wasn’t “feeling” God’s presence at that moment, I know He was there. Since then, I’ve grown to understand that God’s silence does not mean his absence in our lives and circumstances. The miracle he had in store for Amy and I required this storm be weathered and endured. My faith in Him needed to be grown and cultivated. The “harvest” was not yet ready.

In 2 Corinthians 5:7 we read, “For we walk by faith, and not by sight.” This faith in the power of God to heal and restore was not always easy to believe in. In fact, my faith seemed to contradict all that was real at the time. And make no mistake, I was being verbally reminded by Amy and others of that painful reality on a regular basis. Despite this, the Lord was speaking to my heart and sustaining my spirit. He frequently reminded me of the numerous examples in Scripture where faith was tied to waiting and enduring. This brought me great comfort.

Could God have intervened in that attorney’s office and changed Amy’s heart in an instant? Of course He could have. But I believe in my heart that the power of Christ was demonstrated in a greater way after the judge’s verdict was handed down. It was as though an impenetrable fortress was allowed to be built by the enemy, only to have Almighty God bring it down in a swift and powerful way. It did not matter what had happened in the past or what the new normal appeared to be at the time. The same power that raised Christ from the dead, had the ability to resurrect a dead marriage.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

You may find yourself in a circumstance that seems hopeless. Perhaps you are going through a divorce, or just recently became divorced. Do not give up hope. Pray to the Father daily that His will be done in your life and in the lives of the ones you love. We know what the Lord desires for husbands, wives and families. Do not accept defeat or Satan’s lie that you will find your happiness by moving on or “getting over” your failed marriage. Your happiness and joy comes from Jesus Christ. Your identity is in Him. Submit to His will daily and pray in faith that God does what only He can do. Nothing is impossible with Him.

In Christ,
Tommy Larson

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