Does This Make Sense?

This week my husband, Michael, said something very powerful to me. We had just received an email from an apostle in the Body of Christ who is helping restore a man to ministry. This man divorced his wife and married another woman with whom he was having an affair before the divorce. Now that he’s remarried, the Church’s goal is to get this man back into ministry as soon as possible.

Michael said to me, “Isn’t it amazing. If he and his first wife had decided to stay together and get their marriage healed, he would have been removed from ministry for several years to be disciplined and rehabilitated. Since he divorced his wife, though, and married the other woman, his slate is now clean and he can get back to ministry as soon as possible.” He shook his head and added, “It just doesn’t make sense.”

How sad and how true. The Body of Christ seems very confused regarding marriage and divorce. While faith for physical healing is preached world-wide, seldom do we hear a sermon about standing for a marriage and seeing it healed. There are any number of teaching series available on DVD about faith for finances, but only a few about faith for marriage healing.

Free will is sometimes preached as stronger than the power of God in a relationship. It seems that the will of the sinner is somehow sacred and not to be opposed. It makes me wonder why we pray for someone to be saved. Maybe they don’t want to be saved. After all, they have free will. Why do we oppose it and pray that they receive the Lord? Could it be that we know that is God’s will for them? Is it not just as much God’s will for a spouse to return to his or her covenant partner?

Do you know that “free will” in the Bible only refers to an offering? Everyone’s will is aligned either with God or with the devil. No one’s will is in neutral, waiting to line up somewhere. When we are born into this world, our will is aligned with Satan. We live in our sinful nature. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we align our will with His. Every person is in one group or the other. Why would we then not want to pray for those whose wills are aligned with the enemy?

Scripture tells us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. The Contemporary English Bible says, “We live in this world, but we don’t act like its people or fight our battles with the weapons of this world. Instead, we use God’s power that can destroy fortresses. We destroy arguments and every bit of pride that keeps anyone from knowing God. We capture people’s thoughts and make them obey Christ.”

When our spouse is caught in the enemy’s trap, we stand in the gap and intercede for strongholds to fall and for our spouse to agree with God’s will. We walk in faith, seeing the unseen as more real than the seen. I remember God telling me to consider my husband a prisoner of war held in the enemy camp. I needed to intercede for him so that he might be set free from captivity and be able to make his own decision for Christ. People told me there was nothing I could do because he had a free will, but God showed me that his will was not free but was aligned with Satan. He could not fight for himself and so I needed to fight for him.

Why does the Body of Christ believe that the spouse who wants to leave the marriage has more power than the one who wants to stay? Why does the Church honor the wishes of the prodigal and ridicule the wishes of the one standing? Why is the one who dishonors his or her covenant considered more sane and more stable than the one who remains faithful to it? It is because the Church has bought the lie that divorce is the answer to a troubled marriage.

I remember years ago in Washington we heard that in 1920 a book was written in Germany by a couple of doctors that declared that the compassionate thing to do was to end a life that was substandard. From that time until World War II, doctors in Germany were indoctrinated with this philosophy so that by the time Hitler made plans to exterminate certain groups of people, all he had to do was convince the doctors that their lives were substandard. It was falsely believed that it was more compassionate to end those lives than to allow them to continue living in a painful state.

Unfortunately, the Church has received this same philosophy regarding marriage and now believes that the compassionate thing to do is end a marriage that is in trouble. Healing takes time. Healing is painful, and sometimes it seems better to end the suffering. Ending marriages that are in pain, though, only perpetuates pain. It may seem like a quick solution, but in the end the aftermath lasts for years and years. Taking the time to heal is so much better in the long run.

So why am I writing all this to you? You are standing and you believe that God wants to heal your marriage. I just want to encourage you that you are not alone and that, even though the deck seems stacked against you at times, God has given you faith and grace for this hour. Don’t be discouraged.

We sense that a new season is beginning and that many will come to understand covenant in this season. We know that before the Lord returns, His Bride must understand covenant. So stand strong and trust the Lord. Don’t try to make things happen – trust the Lord to do them. You are a true hero of the faith! Love, Marilyn

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”  Ephesians 3:14-19

No Magic Formula

Sorry about the long hiatus. We had a little problem that shut us down for a while. Please make sure the person you are forwarding the blog to wants to receive it. Sending it to your spouse is probably not a good idea. Angry spouses tend to report that as spam.

Many times people think that if they just say or do something, it will be the key to a spouse changing his or her mind and restoring the marriage. I have received many emails saying that I don’t make it clear what I did to get my husband to come home. If you are looking for an answer like that, this is probably not going to help you much.

There is no magic formula or specific thing to do that will make the difference for your marriage. I would hope that those who follow this blog regularly would understand that the key is your relationship with God. You cannot change another person. You cannot be obedient for someone else. You can grow closer to the Lord and learn to hear His voice ever more clearly.

No human being is your answer. In fact, it is idolatry to make a human being more important or having more power than God in your life. Your fulfillment, your peace, your contentment are not based on whether or not your spouse is with you. You have all those things because the Lord is with you.

When David returned to Ziklag and found that his whole family had been taken from him, scripture tells us but David “found strength in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6). That is the only place you will find strength at any time in your life, let alone when you are standing and fighting a battle for your home.

We must each learn to run to Him and find our answers in Him and Him alone.

When Jesus went to the cross, He bore all our sins and suffered the judgement of them all for us. He took other things to that cross for us as well. He suffered betrayal through a phony kiss from someone He loved. He was brutalized and shamed publicly. He was abandoned by all but a close few. Not only did His body suffer indescribable torture, but His soul also bore the pain and suffering that others inflicted upon Him. He bore all of that so that we might not have to.

So, when we are faced with betrayal, with shame, with abandonment, and loneliness we can turn to Him. He has borne them all for us and in Him we can find total peace. Some feel that the restoration of a marriage is the final goal but we can personally tell you that only leads to deeper issues that God wants to resolve in each of our lives. Marriage is a constant working out of God’s plan for both of us and requires healing and adjustment, growth and adjustment, and challenges and adjustment.

Marriage is never static or settled. One of us is always growing and changing and that requires the other one to grow and change as well. We are constantly adjusting to what God is doing within each of our lives and our relationship. What I learned while I was standing is what ministers to us today. Our peace is not in each other. Our total joy and fulfillment are not found in each other. Our relationship grows and flourishes in proportion to how much we draw on Jesus and allow Him to work on our hearts.

Once, one of us stood for our marriage. Now we stand together. And together we face the same attacks and the same schemes of the enemy that he has used since the Garden of Eden. Reconciling your marriage will be of little benefit if you have not learned to rest totally in Jesus while you stand. Many times we see couples reconcile only to break up again. Why? Many times it is because the one standing thought that the answer to prayer was having his or her spouse come home.

No, your answer to prayer is your own transformation in Christ. The more you draw into Him, the more you will find peace and joy in all circumstances and the less you will look to people to be your answer. God wants your marriage and family to be restored but God’s plan is so much bigger than just that. God sees generationally. He sees the beginning from the end.

When God gives an answer, the blessings go out as ripples in the water. The center may be where the miracle occurs, but the ripples continue to bless lives through the generations. Your answer to prayer will also be the answer for many, many others as what God does in your life goes out into the lives of others.

Far too often the Church short circuits the work of God in the hearts of His people by finding answers for them in people. “Forget that first spouse. God has someone better for you.” And the real tragedy is that a person is once again made the answer and the cycle begins again.

How much better it would be if all God’s people could be helped to understand that the reason we get into trouble in life in the first place is because we thought a person would fulfill us in some way – perhaps a spouse, or a child, or a parent, or a friend. And yet, in the end, everyone of them fails us in some way or another. God gave us the desire for relationship and gave us people to relate to but His plan was that we would find our fulfillment and our identity in Him and Him alone.  Love, Marilyn

“For in Him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28

“And the peace of God, that transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7