By Tom Larson
The worldwide pandemic we are currently experiencing has been the cause of much stress and hardship for many families. Husbands and wives in troubled marriages will likely tell you the federal, state, and local directives regarding stay at home orders have served to heighten and exacerbate the already existing tensions found in their broken homes. For some, the increased conflict and friction has instilled a strong resolve to abandon the marriage covenant, and pursue a path that leads to liberation and greater personal happiness. But is a path that embraces divorce one that Bible believing Christians should willingly chase after? The answer to this question, and so many others can be found in Scripture. All we need to do is be open to what God’s Word is plainly telling us.
Matthew 19:4-6 reads, He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
When Jesus told the hypocritical Pharisees that God joined husbands and wives together, He did not suggest marriages stay intact only for as long as things were working. Nor did He offer a way out of the marriage covenant if one or both spouses felt happiness and fulfillment was no longer in reach. On the contrary, our Lord declared separation should not occur. In other words, don’t do it.
Through the years however, society and culture has gone to great lengths to minimize and marginalize the importance of holding true to one’s marriage vows. Unfortunately, much of this way of thinking has crept into our churches. No-fault divorces are not all that uncommon among professing Christians, and attitudes concerning marriage and divorce have become almost identical to those held by non-believers and secular society.
But if your heart truly yearns to be in line with God’s will, and you desire to honor the Lord and bring glory to His name, even in the midst of the volatile storm that may now define your marriage, I strongly urge you to focus your eyes upon Jesus, and to follow the example He demonstrated while ministering here on this earth. Christ never abandoned his bride. Up until his dying breath, He was forgiving and loving. Despite our rebellious, stubborn, and sinful behavior, He always remains right there, never leaving or forsaking us. This is the example we are called to follow.
For many years, I lived the life of a Christian husband and father in name only. I chased after worldly pleasures to satisfy my own flesh. In the end, the environment this behavior cultivated in my own home, led to the destruction of my marriage. Unbeknownst to me at the time of my separation and divorce, God was working to remake me into His image. This also was the case for my precious wife. For us, the tribulation and destruction the Lord allowed to be brought into our lives, became a way to direct our hearts, minds and souls back to Himself. In His perfect timing, true reconciliation and restoration of our marriage occurred. Praise be to God for the discipline He exerts over His children! Although we may not like it at the time, it is for our own good and benefit that the refining fires of correction are brought upon us.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. – Hebrews 12:11
God indeed works in wondrous ways, but the lesson we should all learn as it relates to suffering, is in the tremendous opportunity it presents for transformational growth to occur. When these storms come, do not seek to pin blame on others, or wallow in self pity. Instead, allow the Holy Spirit to convict your soul and bring your thoughts and desires back into alignment with God’s will, rather than your own.
You may be one of those individuals who is now struggling with your marriage. Perhaps your spouse has left, or you are in the beginning stages of the divorce process. In either case, as someone who experienced the miracle of marriage restoration, I can say without a doubt, no circumstance or situation is too difficult for God. The key for believers is to trust in faith and wait for the Lord to do what only He can. Humble yourself and submit to His will daily. Lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge His Word, and you will be guided alongside the path that brings honor and glory to Him. The Pastors and Biblical counseling leaders at West Park are committed to helping you grow in your faith. If you are in need of guidance and counsel to help you navigate the storms currently being faced, please do not hesitate to reach out.
The Lord has a special plan for you, your family, and your marriage. Rather than allowing our present circumstances to shape and determine where our relationships lead, take charge through the empowering of the Holy Spirit and allow transformational change and godliness to chart your course as you head into these turbulent waters.
May God Bless.