I have experienced many trials in my life… personal health issues, declining health of my parents and their ultimate deaths, the deaths of beloved friends and colleagues, and the death of a spouse. These were times of hardship, sadness and grief. None of these experiences compare to the despondency and heartache I felt at the breakup of my marriage and family. Friends and relatives that never experienced a divorce could not understand the pain I was experiencing. I felt alone in the world with no one who understood my emotions. Where was I to turn in these times of utter despair and hopelessness?
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched. With your faithful help rescue me from the sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me. Psalm 69:1-3, 13-15
Up to this point in my life, I had never prayed to God with the heartfelt intensity as I did during the breakup of my marriage. I had learned rote prayers as a child but these did not express the passion of my feelings. For the first time in my life I cried out to God for hours, expressing the deep woundedness, guilt and despair I felt. I poured over Scripture, looking for words of hope and encouragement to help me through each passing day. God met me where I was, comforting my fears, strengthening me, speaking to my hurting heart. God gave me hope in the midst of the storm, expressing His love and concern for me in a way that I had not experienced before in my life.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
In short order, I learned that I could not share my feelings with anyone other than God. Friends and relatives were quick to give advise on what I should do, all of it contrary to the teachings of the Church and Sacred Scripture. I was determined to walk in obedience to God’s commands, no matter what my wife chose to do. My faith grew stronger through this trial and led me to an ever closer relationship with God. Where my earthly friends were lacking, God met my needs with encouragement, hope and healing.
I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
Where do you turn in your time of need? Are you surveying friends and relatives as to which path you should take regarding your marriage? Or are you turning to the Creator of marriage, Almighty God, for wisdom and strength to fight the enemy that has invaded your home?
Do you listen in on God’s council? Do you limit wisdom to yourself? Job 15:8
God’s wisdom is greater than any earthly wisdom. No matter how well- meaning advice may be from friends or relatives, it pales in comparison to the wisdom of God. Worldly wisdom is fleeting, changing like the seasons. The wisdom of God is unchanging, transcending all time and space. Seek God with all your heart, listen to Him and walk in obedience to His commands.
Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a ‘fool’ so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. 1 Corinthians 3:18-19
I was called a fool for standing for my marriage. I was told by Christian friends that I was being used by my spouse when I met her disparaging remarks and actions with unconditional love and respect.
I was being used; I was being used by God to be Christ to my unloving spouse. So many do not understand what it means to be a Christian. As Christ offered forgiveness to His persecutors, so are we. We are called to love unceasingly, empowered by the Holy Spirit to love as Christ loved. Love is sacrifice. Love hurts. Christ showed His love for us by dying on a cross for the forgiveness of our sins. We are called to be Christ to our wives. Embrace your cross and receive your victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word. Ephesians 5:1-2, 25-26
I enjoin my prayers with yours for the healing of your home and marriage. May you look to God as your source of strength during this trial, seeking to please Him through your obedience to His commands. God is faithful and will meet your every need.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:1-3
God bless you, O faithful man of God.