Since I started writing my story series, I’ve come across women going through so many challenges in their lives, and especially in their marriages. It has inspired me to write and to keep writing about marriage, and how to be stedfast in it, and how to work to restore love in your home. My stories have addressed a lot of issues faced in marriage, with the hope that many will draw lessons that they can apply to their lives, or take courage from seeing how others endured and persevered.
On Saturday, I was blessed to meet with one of the women I counselled via my Reader Questions series. She told me that things hadn’t improved for them, and in fact, she had given in to his pressure to move out of their home. It was so heart breaking to realise how damaged her marriage was, and how much she had tried to hang in there… And the sad thing was that, she still loved him and missed him, and she felt, even though they were separated, she was still hanging on. And it has been painful for her.
One of the things we talked about was her chains and liberty in Christ, and whether or not she was free to remarry, or doomed to wait endlessly on her husband. Even though he may go ahead and remarry. Even though he may have affairs and have children with other women. Was she to wait endlessly for him, because Paul had said: “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife” (1 Cor 7:10-11)?
However, could it not be said concerning him, her husband, that he had forsaken the faith by forcing her to leave, and is therefore, worse than infidel (1 Tim 5:8)? If Paul says that the believer is free if their unbelieving spouse forsakes the marriage (1 Cor 7:12-15), why should a Christian woman, be bound to a supposed Believer who acts like an unbeliever and, by sending her away, has forsaken the faith? For as the Lord said, in the above verses, that the woman should not leave her husband, He also said that the husband should not put away his wife…
Is there legalism here? Are we under the Law? Are we not under grace? For the letter truly kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Cor 3:6)! And the Spirit that has come to us is that of Love, and its ministration is Grace and Truth (John 1:17). Let us live as those who are subject to the Law of Liberty (Jam 2:12)!
Paul’s teaching here, and God’s commands to the married are for those who have been called into fellowship with Him by His indwelling Holy Spirit. Those who have been renewed in their minds and circumcised in their hearts, and are walking in the new Way of unmerited, unconditional Love, as shown in Christ. It is not for the hard-hearted and religious, looking for loopholes, or excuses, or justification for sin. It is for those who know they have been called to PEACE and LIBERTY, and are seeking to know the heart and wisdom of God in all these things… Let it be known that God’s heart, is always for reconciliation, but we have been called to peace.
I told the lady that her husband had forsaken the Faith, by forsaking her, and so, he should be seen and treated as an unbeliever (even though he is apparently Pastoring a Church!). He may yet repent of his error, and she should, as often as he comes to mind, pray for him to receive the truth and receive God’s grace to repent. But she should not wait for him, as though she is in his mercy. She is, and has always been, under the mercy of God! And that’s the truth that will set her free.
Many cannot accept this, because they do not understand what God meant when He said, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6, Matt 9:13). They will continue to lay burdens on people that they cannot and will not carry with their two fingers (Matt 23:4). It is only when they have need of the mercy of God that they will appreciate the grace that has been abundantly available to us all…
So my counsel to the lady, and to any other woman, who has been forsaken by her husband, or her family is simply this: Realise Whose You Are!!! Though your parents or your husband were given guardianship over you, if ever they should forsake you, God will never forsake you!!! You are His! And He bought you with His own blood, and at a humongous price!
You were never, and will never be at the mercy of men, unless you put yourself there (1 Cor 7:23). Jesus has set you free! Walk in it. You are under the mercy of God! And He is just! And He is good! And it is His to repay.
Just as you came to the Faith, all things forsaken, you must return to God or abide in God, all things forsaken. Don’t go telling God that you must have this or that…or you won’t be happy. Lay every dream, hope, expectation before His feet again, and SURRENDER ALL.
Wait on Him there. Rest in Him. Learn from Him, and be refreshed by Him. Do not hasten to do anything to change your situation. Let your desire and thirst be for the Lord.
You are His servant. That is your chain and your liberty; to do His will. Even if your husband were to come back, you should and must seek God’s face and blessing to re-enter a marriage with him!
In that place of waiting, God will provide for you. And you will accept His provision, whatever it may be. And if He graciously brings a God-fearing man to you, to love you as Christ loves the Church, I do believe you have God’s liberty and grace to accept this gift of God. But only if you have the faith. For whatever is not done of faith, is sin (Rom 14:23).
Don’t depend on my faith. Don’t let this be as a commandment or teaching to you. I’m directing you to go to God, and learn from Him, and receive from Him. As you know Him more, your faith will grow, and you will be able to hear Him and know what His will is. And you will be able to walk in it.
May God help you, and restore all the lost years… Amen!!!
Photo credit: http://www.watergurl.wordpress.com
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