Authority, Divorce, Faith, God's Power, Healing and Reconciliation, Waiting on God

Our God is Able

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.

In Christ,

Tommy Larson
Purposed Marriage

Divorce, Forgiveness, Healing and Reconciliation, Judging, Suffering

Are You Really Sorry?

In this episode of the Purposed Marriage Podcast, we discuss the importance of genuine repentance and the role it plays in the process of reconciliation.

“I Want to Say I’m Sorry” by Andrew Peterson
youtu.be/ZEjf0oOBbe8

Divorce, Forgiveness, Healing and Reconciliation, Marriage, Suffering

Don’t Provoke Your Prodigal

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.

James 4:1-2

If you have been standing for your marriage and have grown accustomed to dealing with a prodigal spouse walking blindly in sin, you’ve likely faced situations where you’ve been tempted to engage your spouse in a no holds barred debate, in the hopes that through your passionate arguments, they will come to a knowledge of the truth and at long last see the light. While this may seem like a prudent thing to do at times, it is important to remember that a hardened heart, in most cases, will not be receptive to the message you bring. In fact, having to hear your words can in many cases, produce the complete opposite effect, resulting in a greater determination to run from God and to do things on their own terms.

I struggled with this early on in my stand. I was convinced that I actually had the power to argue my way back to restoration. If I could just put the words in the right order or articulate the message in just the right way, surely the message would get through… How wrongheaded this thinking was. Despite my best efforts, all the words I uttered fell on deaf ears. And the words that did penetrate, only served to strengthen her resolve to leave me and our marriage. To be completely blunt, I’d say there is no more effective way to drive your spouse further away from you, than to engage them in a conversation advocating that they leave their life of sin. To be sure, reconciling this in one’s mind is very tough. Logic seems to dictate that exposure to the truth of the Gospel will lead one to repentance. While in the broader context this is true, what standers oftentimes fail to account for is the working of the Holy Spirit. Genuine and authentic heart transformation can only occur if the sinner has been touched on the inside. We cannot do this. This work can only be done by God.

Instead of looking for ways to convince your spouse to return to your covenant marriage, a better and more effective use of your time is to pray for them by asking the Lord to do the work of heart transformation. James talks about our passions and how they can cause us to essentially “war” with others. This certainly rings true for those clinging to our marriages. We long so desperately for healing and reconciliation that at times we act irrationally and convince ourselves that it’s possible to actually force the issue. Please don’t be fooled or led astray by this false way of thinking. Your job as a stander is to love and remain peaceable.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

Proverbs 25:11

While the strongest of arguments made on behalf of restoration can easily be used in back and forth exchanges between you and your spouse, the most impactful dialogue you can have will be those that model grace, soft spokenness, and restraint. Make no mistake, this approach should never be considered the easy path. It is extremely challenging to hold your tongue and zip your lips when you want so desperately for your husband or wife to return home. I understand that, but believe me when I say the cause of Christ and His Kingdom are more effectively advanced when you determine to put on the servant’s role and walk humbly in word and deed as the light of Christ flows from you. Remember this as you press on and continue to endure.

In Christ,

Tommy Larson