Does anything good come from divorce? In my experience, the answer is no. Even when there is adultery, abuse, or abandonment, and there might really be no other recourse, divorce brings damage and pain to everyone involved, especially children. Yet, God used the trauma of the breakup of my marriage and the divorce process to turn my heart back to him. In so doing, he’s given me an incredible story to tell of his love and faithfulness. I’ve been blessed to share that story several different times in the CRC’s own marriage and parenting media outreach ministry, Family Fire. I’m pleased to share a little of it now.
The rubble of the World Trade Center still smoldered when I suffered a blow every bit as devastating to me personally as the destruction of 9-11. Without warning, my wife of seven years demanded a divorce. To make matters even worse, not only did she want out of the marriage, she did not want to be a mother anymore either. Within a year the marriage was over.
What is good about divorce? Not one thing. God, however, is the God of restoration and renewal.
Even though I had come to Christ as a child, as an adult I turned my back on God. By the time of my marriage crisis, I was in a far off country spiritually. Every area of my life suffered—my career, friendships, and health. I felt almost completely alone. Since I’d shut myself off from his Spirit, I did not have ears to hear God or eyes to see the ways he worked in the midst of the crisis.
It was then that I began to realize there was only one way for me to turn: like the prodigal son, it gradually dawned on me that I needed to return to Christ. In the most destructive season of my life, God reached down to lift me up.
Someone whose marriage is threatened, or is in the process of divorcing, usually feels injured, angry, and resistant. That was my experience, anyway. In changing me in the midst of divorce and recovery, God did the heavy lifting. Over the months, each step along the way, my part was just to agree with him. A very key point for me, the man whose wife had left him and abandoned her children, was to agree with God that my sin helped destroy the marriage. I had to lay down the status of victim, acknowledge my own sin, and embrace God’s grace.
In his grace, he made my life new.
Is your marriage in trouble? Are you going through a divorce? Or, do you know someone who is? There is hope. God has not left you alone. At Family Fire, we’ve put together an ebook designed to help those struggling to hold their marriages together find hope and see God at work in the most difficult time of their lives. I’ve been blessed to contribute a chapter to the book, to share part of my story to encourage those currently in crisis, along with several pastors and therapists. It’s called “Marriages in Crisis.” It’s yours free when you subscribe to Family Fire.
In the middle of trial, God can change hearts if we let him. He will set lifelines for us to take hold of, through the Scriptures, and through his people, whom we will know by their love (John 13:34-35). Nothing good comes from divorce. That is true. But in the heat of the fire, and from the ashes of destruction, God can make all things new.