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Don't Give Up!

The question above in the title has come up several times through this site. I made it the title of this article for that reason.

Nearly eleven years ago I wondered that same thing. Nearly four years ago my divorce was final. It was the most gut-wrenching day of my life. To this day I cannot believe I actually went through with it. I didn’t believe in divorce. I still don’t. Does that make me hypocritical? Not really but it does make me pretty doggone stupid. I was desperate to “do something”anything to make it stop because I didn’t know what else to do… I was blinded by the one who took me captive to do his will. The devil may be a roaring lion prowling about seeking whom he may devour – but he is very subtle in what he does and how he does it. Have you ever watched a lion or other big cat of prey stalk their victim?

I saw what divorce did to my Mother. I’ve seen what it did to my brothers. I know what it did to my God, my Beloved Husband, our grown children, our parents – to me. To this day, I feel as though I’m standing outside myself looking at this person I see in the mirror every day. I know the hurt I endured before we divorced. I know the hurt I caused. But our hurt is never an excuse to hurt someone back. No one is immune from the pain divorce causes. They may be real good liars to themselves and to others – but unless they are physically dead, they will feel some amount of guilt and pain at the physical act of divorce. The act of tearing something in half should give you an idea of what I mean. Can you picture yourself literally being torn in half? The Husband and Wife are created spiritually, emotionally and somehow physically as ONE body. God says it’s so — hence our pain.

More than anything, I know the searing pain I felt the day that God Himself opened my eyes to the fact that He tried to get me to trust HIM before I walked away. I was so focused on taking “surveys” from others – even well-meaning Christian counselors – and trying to change my Husband that I couldn’t see that what God was showing me all along was for ME.

On the day that God grabbed a hold of me – I saw it all. I was absolutely horrified… I had just been brought to my knees with the reality of MY sin — not my Husband’s sin — but mine. Even more than that, I had just come face-to-Face with God.

The next several weeks for me are a blur. To be quite frank and honest, I didn’t care to breathe anymore… I believe the only reason I am alive today is because of my God.

Folks, when we start looking for an “out” from our Marriages, it’s always because we are not following the biblical precepts given us. We think we’ve tried everything! Goodness knows I thought that. But have we really?

We like to throw the blame on our Beloved and say things like “Well, if he spent more time with me and the kids…” Or “If she just didn’t nag me all the time…” Or “I’d be more happy if he did this or she that OR if they didn’t do whatever…” You fill in the blanks. But notice that the focus is on what they are doing or not doing. Of course, we never do anything wrong, right? Remember the Scripture about taking the plank out of your own eye so you can clearly see to remove the speck from your brother’s eye?

What’s your excuse? Do you really think what you’re going through is unique to Marriage – so much so that God will look the other way and let you walk? We think God understands. After all, God is Love. He would never expect me to go through this. I deserve better! I’ve got news for you. He doesn’t.

You might say to that, “well other people divorce and move on and they do ok. I know so-and-so who made it work.” That is a true statement. So do I. Or at least I think I do. We don’t see the things suffered behind closed doors. However, that’s not the point.

So what is the point, you ask?

First of all, we aren’t “so-and-so” who will have to answer for their own actions before God. The day of reckoning for each of us will come. Goodness! If so-and-so jumped off a bridge, would you do the same? Sounds stupid, but you know what I mean. However, it’s just as stupid to justify our actions, reactions and responsibilities (or lack thereof) on what other people are doing!

Second: God says He hates divorce (reference Malachi 2). He gives absolutely NO conditions to what He said. He said very clearly, “I hate divorce.” He didn’t say “I don’t hate divorce when you finally get tired of screaming at your Husband to take care of his honey-do list.” Or “I don’t hate divorce when your Wife won’t wait on you hand and foot.”

God’s Word was written for EVERYbody – not just the few who could stomach it. His Word is very relevant yesterday, today and forever. He is unchanging. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His Word, then, is to be taken as a whole. We cannot pick and choose what we want to see or believe and leave the rest. His Word is also very specific on the subject of divorce AND REmarriage. He makes NO allowances for REmarriage after a divorce. Surprise! And here’s a News Flash! There is NO “escape clause.”

……yeah, that’s what I thought too.

Show me an instance in the Bible where God divorced His Bride Israel for her adulteries and replaced her with a second wife. Show me an instance in the Bible where Jesus Christ has traded in His Bride (the Church) for her infidelities! The Church would be us — you and me. . . . Show me an instance in the Bible where God ordained divorce — not where Moses allowed divorce because of the hard hearts of men — but where God ordained it. If you’re thinking “escape clause,” guess again. It would contradict every other Scripture with reference to Marriage and divorce. And because God’s Word is God-breathed, it cannot contradict itself otherwise God would be a liar. . . .

God had me right where He wanted me and I found out different. It’s amazing what you learn when all your props have been removed. I was mortified by what I was seeing in God’s Word and how I was seeking to so totally go against everything He has written with regard to Marriage that I put the brakes on everything. I had to stop and figure out who I am IN Christ. Did that really mean what I said it meant? What I believed it meant? What was my witness about the power of God going to be like if I continued? Worse – what were the consequences to a rebellion such as that? I had to get on my knees and ask God for forgiveness and the wisdom and strength to do what He was calling me to do. I had to ask HIM to give me the courage to Stand in the Gap and fight for my Husband’s eternal destiny and the restoration of his relationship to his God. I am also standing for the reconciliation of our Marriage. But I can tell you, I am eternally grateful God saved me from the sin of an adulterous REmarriage.

Thirdly, what Bible version are you reading? I can tell you it will make a difference in what you see, feel and believe. Are you using a washed down and muddied version of the Word like The Message or the New Living Translation? Do you have a good concordance and Bible dictionary? What about commentaries written before the devil popularized divorce. Matthew Henry is a good source of reference for expanding on God’s Word. What about an older Lexicon with definitions of the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic? If you can afford it, go get yourself the PC Study Bible program on CD. It has all of the above in one neat and tidy place. If you’re serious about knowing if God can heal your Marriage, then you need the right tools to help you understand the language. I would recommend the KJV or the NASB — even the RSV or ESV. I really like the NIV for ease of reading but it will definitely leave you confused and thinking God contradicts Himself on the subject. The NIV leaves out a few scriptures that are included within the others mentioned above. Do a serious study on every scripture you can find on Marriage, Divorce and REmarriage. Know the time that they lived in and how they lived. Know who Jesus was talking to when He said what He said. A good example is when Jesus was answering the Pharisees when they tried to trick him on this very subject. Know the history surrounding Jewish betrothals and weddings. ALL of these things will open your eyes IF you are willing to walk this road on your knees. Above all, know the context!

Next you need to understand the relationships between the Church to Christ — your relationship with Christ; IN Christ. I capitalize “IN” because that one tiny word is very significant. It denotes a “fixed position.” Once you truly comprehend that, then you can comprehend the full meaning of Ephesians 5:21-33. Read it. Then read it again. This was most profound to me when I discovered that the Marriage relationship is a *type of* Christ’s relationship with the Church. That means that the two types of relationships, though different, are copies of each other. The human relationship is meant to reflect – or mirror – that of Christ’s relationship to His Church.

How so? Well, we have to understand that the Church is the Bride of Christ and Christ Himself is the Bridegroom. The Church and Christ are ONE. The Bride and Bridegroom are ONE. So is the Husband (Bridegroom) and Wife (Bride). Since the Church is INSEPARABLE from Christ, so then are the Husband and Wife INSEPARABLE from each other. I’ll take it one step further. The Christian Husband and Christian Wife are also Brother and Sister IN Christ. They are many parts but ONE body. They are a part of the physical & spiritual Body of Christ – inseparable from Christ. They are ONE in the Body.

Do you see where this is going?

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating – the person you are responsible for is YOU. Not your Spouse. It takes two to be Married – but it only takes ONE person to STAND in the GAP for your Marriage.

You cannot do this under your own will, might or power. You cannot manipulate or coerce. You cannot cry, scream or buy your way back home. You need to start with you on your knees before God. You cannot change your One-flesh Covenant Mate. But God can. However, know that God doesn’t work on your timetable. He works on His – and He alone knows what it’s going to take to bring both hot-headed, pride-filled partners to seek Him. He can even bring back the unfaithful spouses. The drug-addict spouses. The abusive spouses.

What I’m saying to you is this: you haven’t done everything you possibly know how to do to save your Marriage until you come to your knees to ask God to change YOU.

Yes. I said it. YOU… ME…

It won’t work until you are willing to come before God and surrender who you are to Him and then learn how to see your Husband or Wife through the eyes of God. You have to learn how to see your Beloved as God sees them:

Forgiven.

Justified.

Sanctified.

Glorified.

All this was done by and through the Blood of Jesus Christ.

You see, this isn’t just about having a restored Marriage free of problems so we can frolic in the moonlight. If that’s all you want from God, I’m not sure what to say – but I’m sure there will be a learning process that takes place sometime after the tantrums have subsided… No. What this is really about is seeing the two of you standing upright, walking straight toward your Heavenly Father saved by the Blood of Christ.

This is about your walk and relationship with Jesus Christ.

God makes no mistakes. Everything that you are going through right now is of no surprise to God. All the days for you were written before even one of them came to be.

Have you considered that God has allowed this into your life so that you would come to this point in time to fulfill your purpose? Have you considered that you just might be the only one praying for your wayward Spouse — and it just might be the “last chance” they have before they step foot into eternity?

Selah. Stop and think about that.

Heavy thought if you’ve never pondered the reality of it before.

There is no easy way to fix this. There is no quick fix. There is no magical fix. The only fix is through your Lord. Are you willing to seek the Face of God on dirtied, bruised, battered, torn and bloodied knees on behalf of yourself, your Covenant Spouse, your Marriage?

Are you willing to take up the Cross and walk the unpopular road – the one that walks in the opposite direction of what the rest of the world says? You know…the ones that will tell you to get on with your life! Go party and live it up! “Go Shopping!” they’d say. “How do you expect to get a date with your wedding rings on?”  I’ve been told that more times than I really care to count. They think I’m some poor soul who has lost touch with reality. If you’re more worried about what they think, then you’re not going to be committed to taking the Stand.

The madness stops with you. Are you willing to stop taking surveys from well-meaning friends, family, the Internet or even Church Counselors and Pastors and find out what GOD wants to say to you? Do through you? Surround yourself with people who will stand with you and support you — and hold you accountable. Allow your life to be a witness to them. There are people watching me. Our children are watching me. My Covenant Husband is watching me…

I can 100% guarantee you that God wants you and your Covenant Spouse reconciled to each other. How do I know? God is a God of Forgiveness – 100% of the time. He commands us to forgive. It’s not an option. God is a God of Love. He commands us to love one another as He loves us. It’s not an option. You can’t hate your brother when you are loving him as God loves you. It’s physically impossible. God is a God of Reconciliation – 100% of the time. How many times Has He brought you back to Him after you’ve goofed up really bad? God is also the God of our impossible. He raised the dead to life. He can raise your dead Marriage back to Life. There is no limit to what He can do through you and for you. If He’s brought you to it, He’ll bring you through it. What you are willing to let go of will determine what God will bring you to… God will NEVER do or say ANYthing to you that is contrary to His Word.

If you turn your back and walk away, how do you know, oh husband – or how do you know, oh wife, if you will save your spouse? (reference 1 Corinthians 7)

I am still Standing in the Gap for my Husband and our Marriage. As of today, it has been three years, seven months and four days… I can’t deny that I have hard days where I just want to quit. It takes a lot to pray – and wait. It takes a lot to endure. But I absolutely refuse to be moved. I am determined to see my One-flesh Covenant Husband restored to his God; standing in right relationship with Him. I know once that happens, everything else will fall into place. God has promised me and He cannot lie. I am not responsible for my Husband’s actions or how he treats me. He is. I am responsible for my response. God has commanded us to do everything in Love and walk in Forgiveness. These are not optional.

My only thought with regard to all of this is: if I had chosen to do these things before I walked away, how different our lives would have been… More than anything the realization hits – I didn’t do everything I could have done to save our Marriage after all… I gave up on God. I gave up on my wonderful Husband. I gave up on our children. In my prideful walk out the door, I left a wake of destruction unparalleled to anything I’ve ever dealt with in my life.

If we aren’t reconciling with our Spouses, then we have chosen to walk away. Not just from them but from God. He alone holds the power over life and death. If you walk away from God, where are you going to?

Hang on for dear life – theirs………

Amen.

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