During my separation from Sharon I often asked people to pray for our reconciliation. I always winced and was somewhat hurt when they tagged something on to their prayer about “God, please heal this marriage if it is Your will.” These were Christians downplaying my desire and commitment to reconciliation and reminding me that Sharon had a free will.
I was desperately looking for encouragement and hope from my Christian brothers and sisters and sometimes it seemed like I was getting more skepticism and discouragement. I suspect some of them realized I was very depressed. They had seen so many other Christian marriages fail or been through a divorce themselves and were trying to prepare me for the very real possibility that I would be divorced so I wouldn’t go off the “deep end”.
I wasn’t emotionally with it enough at the time to really articulate what I was thinking, but I was and still am disappointed that this idea of “maybe it is or maybe it is not God’s will” to heal marriages seems to be so prevalent in the church. Perhaps I am just too simplistic in my thinking, but it seems like God is pretty clear about wanting to heal marriages.
In Malachi it says, “‘I hate divorce,’ declares the Lord”. Jesus said, “Let no man put asunder what God has joined together.” Jesus also, when asked about Moses allowing divorce, said, “It was because of your hard hearts that Moses allowed you to divorce.” Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said, “A woman must not separate from her husband but if she does, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.”
In Scriptures unrelated to marriage, we hear things such as “Love each other deeply from the heart, for love covers a multitude of sins, Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you, and Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church, giving Himself up for her.” Jesus also promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I could not get to a place in my mind and heart where I could say, “It is not God’s will to heal my marriage or it is God’s will for me just to give up and accept that it is over.” I don’t understand how often in the church the consensus seems to be that it may not be God’s will to heal marriages.
I do accept that with God giving us permissive will, divorces do happen, just like every other sin He allows to happen, and that He doesn’t zap the perpetrator before he commits the sin. But, it seemed to me at the time I had to go with the assumption that God’s will was for our marriage to be healed, and that even though I couldn’t guarantee that it would be healed, that I should make every effort that I could and trust Him for the results.
I am so thankful that He honored my feeble and sometimes bungled efforts, and I hope to inspire others to keep hanging in there even when it seems hopeless because “with God all things are possible.”