In this episode of the Purposed Marriage podcast, we discuss the self-righteous spouse who invokes God and spirituality to justify their pursuit of divorce.
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”Lamentations 3:25-26 ESV
For men and women hoping against hope that a husband or wife will return home, conversations surrounding the idea of “time” can be a sensitive topic. Those on the “standing” side of the fence, who possess a Biblical worldview and kingdom perspective, know that regardless of time, God’s plans and intentions are always fulfilled. Unfortunately, this mindset is lost on many.
Most believers are familiar with the Gospel story of Jesus and Lazarus. As readers will recall, prior to the miraculous resurrection of Lazarus, his sisters Mary and Martha made a desperate plea to summon Jesus in order that Lazarus would be delivered from his life threatening affliction.
As the story goes, Jesus arrived at the home of Mary and Martha only after Lazarus had already passed. This was a devastating emotional blow for Lazarus’s family and friends. If only Jesus had come more quickly, perhaps Lazarus would not have died. Their hearts were broken and all it appeared all hope was lost.
What Mary and Martha didn’t know, was that Jesus was planning for a miracle. The “delay” was by no means an attempt to cause pain or undue suffering. Rather, it was done in order to help set the stage for one of the greatest miracles that would be performed during His ministry. To be clear, the glorious resurrection of Lazarus was made possible because Christ did NOT arrive at the time of Mary and Martha’s choosing.
As it pertains to marriage restoration, we as believers risk making the same mistakes as Mary and Martha by putting time constraints on God, or setting artificial parameters through which the Lord is allowed to work His miracles. These are errors we should not make. To do so is not only wrong, but a clear demonstration of our lack of faith.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your path.”Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV
Fully believing in Christ’s authority to design and implement the plan He alone creates is what Christians must consistently keep within our hearts. With God’s help, determine this very day to cast aside the ideas and preconceived notions of what restoration may eventually look like. Acknowledge that it is Christ alone who will author your story of healing and reconciliation. Be humble, and willing to wait as long as it takes for the tapestry that God is weaving, to be made complete. While this is happening, allow the Lord to shape and remake you into His image. One that is acceptable and pleasing in His sight.
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!