God’s Light In The Darkness
of Marital Breakdown & Divorce
My journey though the painful process
By Helen at Grainofwheatblog.wordpress.com
Broken Hearts & Broken Homes
Broken heart, marriage shattered,
Broken promises of all that mattered.
Broken lives as lies abound,
Broken families are all around.
Broken dreams, a living nightmare,
Broken homes are everywhere.
Poem – Broken Hearts & Broken Homes
- The Day of My Calamity
- Jesus Wept
- In Your Anger Do Not Sin
- Walking A Tightrope?
- Do Not Worry or Fret
- Foxes Have Holes
- Where Does My Help Come From?
- More Value Than Many Sparrows
- Be Merciful
About the Author
Shortly after completing a Behavioural Sciences Degree (Psychology with Sociology) I was radically saved by the Lord Jesus Christ to the Christian faith, only six months after marrying. This testimony book was written a few years after the initial devastation described in the account and it is being posted here almost a decade later. I felt that the Lord wanted me to write it to help any other Christians who may have to go through similar things. I had found there to be a lack of such resources when I was in desperate need. My aim is to give glory to God for all His mercy, love and help to me through that time of trial. It is also written to testify that God is very real, and the Bible is His truth that can be totally relied upon in every circumstance you may face in this life.
Many blessings to you all, in the Lord Jesus Christ
When my husband, whom I had loved, left me and my children, after a lengthy marriage, I went through the blackest, most depressing time of my life. The recovery was agonizingly slow, with frustrating relapses along the way. I have had it in my heart for some time now, that I would write about the pain and the healing process that has been my experience over the years, and now finally the time feels right to do so.
I am hoping to convey to you two main points in this short book. Firstly, that the pain was very real, incredibly severe and took me far longer to recover from than any problem that I had ever encountered before. In describing this to you, I have opted to be quite open and vulnerable in a sense, as I found that the writers that helped me the most were the ones that were open and descriptive of their pain. I found such comfort in finding that someone else understood what I was going through. I only hope that my account will also bring someone else a little comfort in a similar fashion.
Secondly, I wish to convey to you the very real help that God, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Bible, have been to me in and through this ordeal. As such, this book is primarily written to help other Christian believers. However, if you are not a Christian and happen to read this book, my hope and prayer is that you too would desire to know the true and living God, who can provide you likewise with His light in your darkness, should you call on Him for His mercy and forgiveness.
Marital breakdown, separation and divorce all describe a most horrendous, incredibly painful and debilitating experience, not only for the husband and wife, but also for the children and the wider extended family. In our society where such separations are becoming increasingly commonplace there is an almost corresponding prevailing view that it is merely a normal part of life which you can just shrug off fairly easily and simply begin again. I beg to differ, and suggest to you that the emotional pain involved in such cases is still of the highest magnitude. It has many debilitating consequences, not only on the emotions, frequently causing depression, but also physically on various other aspects of one’s health. And of course, it usually causes the additional massive stresses of a financial nature too.
The psychologists tell us that divorce and marital separation are almost as stressful as the death of one’s spouse. However, others maintain that the death of a spouse can be easier to deal with as there isn’t the element of rejection and on-going hostility that can often exist in marital breakdown cases. It is a hurt that goes so deep that one can begin to wonder if it will ever heal at all. You may start to question, will there ever be any light at the end of the tunnel? You may even feel that the tunnel of pain will never end.
The question for each of us finding ourselves in such a situation is how can we cope? To what or whom should we turn to for help? You may consider damping your pain with antidepressants or alcohol, or perhaps you find yourself comfort eating or conversely excessive dieting. Some find momentary relief in compulsive shopping and many people turn to counsellors or plunge into rebound relationships to sooth their turmoil. Yet my question is, what is the wise and biblical course of action? What does God want you to do when you are at your wit’s end, can’t stop crying and may even feel like you can’t keep going anymore?
After trying many of the above, I found that there was another way to cope, though you do still have to live the day-to-day life of heart-broken sadness. I found that my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the living God of the Bible, gave me just enough strength and reason to carry on living. In retrospect, I wonder if God allowed me to go through the pain of rejection by my husband who I loved, at the same time as coldness from some of my siblings, a lack of comfort from my mother, that my heart desperately cried out for, and the loss of friendships too, in order that I could truly testify that although many people have failed me in my time of absolute need, God Himself has NEVER failed me. He alone was my Rock of strength and support. He truly is the God of love, compassion and mercy to all who belong to and obediently follow Him. Jesus promised never to leave or forsake us. He does not disappoint or hurt you either, for He is LOVE itself. In fact, it was during those days of darkest despair that I came to know in even greater measure something of this unfathomable love of God for me. I trust you too will know such comfort.
Why such pain?
I want us to consider the question of why does the pain of marital breakdown hurt so deeply and for so long? I can remember, in the early day of my emotional pain, hoping that the pain would only last a few months. I used to beg God in desperation to take away my love for my absent husband, so that the pain could recede. I then read that such short recovery times were not realistic and that I was looking at something that could take many years to fully recover. I had never encountered anything with such a long recovery time before! It was beyond my comprehension. I found that I was on an emotional roller-coaster of coping better one day (thinking I was recovered) only to stumble once more into a tearful “slough of despair” on the next day. My comfort was found in the discovery that this was a normal pattern for such situations.
I looked often to the Bible to draw from its comforts and to also seek answers as to the why it hurts so very much. I found that when Jesus was asked the question, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” that He quoted from the book of Genesis in reply.
“The Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him.
And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?”
They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.”
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.”” Mark 10:2-9
If you can imagine separating “one flesh” then you may just begin to understand that such an unnatural ripping apart leaves a gaping, bleeding, open wound that takes considerable time to heal. Such emotional, divorce wounds are, of course, invisible to other people. I found out that those who have not personally experienced this particular problem seem unable to truly comprehend the magnitude of the pain that is produced. So, for this purpose I have written about my experience in order to add to the resources available to Christians enduring such hardships.
I took comfort from the Bible passage from Luke’s gospel when Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah and related it to His own ministry.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19
I have allowed the Lord Jesus to do that healing of my broken heart. My question to you is, will you likewise consider fully trusting in Him to deal with your own broken heart? Will you turn your life fully into His loving care to be your comforter in your time of trouble? My hope and my prayer is that you will do so and that the God of all peace will comfort and bless you as your faith grows and matures through the pain of your suffering.
My 9/11 occurred on 9/12, when the “twin towers” in my life of marital trust and marital fidelity came crashing down suddenly from the tremendous height of a long marriage which I had previously thought would last a lifetime. Now it was looking more like a mangled pile of twisted anguish and heartbroken rubble!
The touch-paper to such devastation was lit by my husband’s almost incomprehensible comment of, “I suppose there’s always our youngest son to consider!” For a moment I couldn’t breathe as my heart seemed to stop beating whilst my mind spun into absolute panic-mode as I considered what could be his meaning behind such a phrase. Like the people working in the Twin Towers on 11 September were not prepared to be hit out of the blue by jet planes that would cause fire, explosions, devastation and the collapse of their world, neither was I prepared for the cruel, heartless way my husband’s comment and subsequent meaning and actions reduced my life to an ash heap of brokenness and utter exhausting despair.
The original impact was closely followed by further equally confusing yet deceptively deadly statements that caused continual aftershocks as I slid deeper and deeper into a blackness and severity of pain previously quite alien to me. I quite honestly felt at this point as though he had taken an exceedingly sharp blade and thrust it viciously and purposefully deep into the centre of my heart. What followed felt like he was twisting the blade to cause me yet more and more pain, and not satisfied with that, it felt like he then heartlessly and with great cruelty stamped repeatedly on my heart that lay bleeding and broken, crushed and dying before him. No mercy. No compassion. Nothing except wave upon wave of unceasing and unbearable pain.
I attempted to understand my husband. I tried to help him. I thought that maybe he was depressed so I booked him a doctor’s appointment. He came out of it with further enemy ammunition and the main thing I remember from what he then said to me was his most rejecting words of all of, “I never chose you!” I reeled now in further agonising pain at this terrible statement. Not only was he about to walk out on me and our family but he chose to go for my emotional jugular in this most extreme rejection of all, whereby he intimated that we should never have been together at all! Twenty-seven years and three children and he was pressing the ultimate “Delete” on me!
He simply got into his car and drove home whereas I drove in the opposite direction in a blur of tears, with an all-consuming pain raging in my inner-most being. I sped like a mad woman as though I could out-drive the pain. I had no idea where to go. I had no-one to whom I felt I could go to. All I knew is that I wanted to be as far away from the source of the pain as I could. I eventually forced myself to pull over into a farm driveway just to prevent myself crashing. I cried long and hard. The words of Jesus to Judas flashed through my mind of, “What you are about to do, do it quickly.”
I didn’t understand the meaning of those words at the time as I didn’t know the level of his lies and betrayal until much later, but God saw everything that my husband was planning and doing, and I think God was trying to warn me that my husband was “doing a Judas” on me. He was pretending to be the injured party and a good husband to other people around us when in fact he was lying and deceiving everyone and had in fact started a relationship with a woman whom he’d previously known as a teenager, prior to meeting me. Just as Judas Iscariot pretended to care about the poor but was in fact a thief and a wicked betrayer of our Lord Jesus Christ so too my husband betrayed me.
The ripples of my husband’s decision to explode our family life and murder our marriage may be felt to some extent for a lifetime, but this book is written to express to all who read it that God was with me in and through it all. His amazing love has sustained me and upheld me, and He has even used it to draw me closer to Him than ever before.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven …” Matthew 5:10-12
1. The Day of My Calamity
“He sent from above, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
From those who hated me,
For they were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my support.
He also brought me out into a broad place;
He delivered me because He delighted in me.”
My husband left the following day to go to work as usual. I however, was at home in bed sobbing and heartbroken. It felt like the end of my world and the pain was almost too severe to bear. I could only manage very simple prayers at that point, such as, “Help me Jesus!” Momentarily I realised that there was a gentle change to my feelings. I was aware that the intense distraught pain had now been replaced by a calmness. Most amazingly I then found that I could get out of bed and get dressed. Next, I began to feel actual happiness and was finally astounded to be filled with the most wonderful joy! I began singing praises to the Lord all afternoon as I vacuumed and tidied the house and then prepared a meal for my family. This was ALL done in the Lord’s strength, as I had absolutely none of my own at that point. That day will be forever etched on my memory, not as the enemy of my soul wanted it, but as the living God made it for me. It was a most wonderful miracle of His very joyful presence with me that day. A day to treasure all my life. A day that in the natural started with the most intense pain possible and yet, a day that the Lord had made joyful. He is such a wonderful God.
The doorbell rang! I got a shock to see my mother standing there with my husband! (My mother lives a few hours drive away from me, and I had very clearly asked her not to come, but to give me chance to speak with my husband myself alone). However, no one was listening to me – except the Lord of course! And He enabled me to welcome both my husband and my mother into the house and to joyfully serve them an evening meal, that I had prepared. The Lord also gave me chance to testify to my husband and I said,
“This Jesus, who you hate, is filling me with His JOY.”
When they both came to my door that evening, I think that they expected to see the most broken, desperate, depressed, sobbing human being imaginable, yet instead, they met with Jesus in me. “They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support.”
Yet, in the days, weeks and months that followed, I generally had to walk the regular path of pain and suffering. Yet I always knew that God was good, kind and merciful. I never doubted Him at all, even when He felt a little more distant, as He didn’t presence Himself with me in quite this way again until another very black day occurred. I learnt, in retrospect, that He fills us and carries us when we are completely unable to function in our own strength, but at other times He is watching closely like a most loving father looks upon his own precious toddler.
My way of coping in those long, tear-filled days was when the sobbing overtook me to the point of total overwhelmedness I would reach for my Bible and open at the Psalms. As I read a little, the Lord would then give me just sufficient calmness to stop my desperate sobbing. He was my comforter and my counsellor. He gave me His wisdom and He was training me to rely upon Him and His Word alone. His Word was truly “living and active,” as it was the ONLY way to calm my wretchedness.
As the days wore on into weeks and months, I began to write out the parts of the Psalms that were particularly relevant and sustaining to me. I found that I could easily pick up these hand-written parts of the Psalms to read and re-read over and over again. We are told in scripture, “…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:5) and that is what I was practicing on a daily, moment by moment basis. I was learning how to abide in Him and let His Word abide in me, as we are instructed to do in John’s gospel.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7
2. Jesus Wept
“You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?” Psalms 56:8
“My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?””
I was sobbing, weeping and crying in exhausting grief, shock and pain every day. I was mostly trying to keep this grief hidden from my sons behind my own bedroom door, but it wasn’t always possible to do, nor do I kid myself that the door was sound-proof enough to contain the sound of my grief from them.
Initially I was unable to eat and in a matter of a few weeks lost a stone in weight. I was unable to sleep and was glad to accept sleeping tablets from the doctor. My hair was also falling out at an alarming rate and I began to fear that I would even go bald! Even my bones were affected by the extreme stress, as for the first time in my life arthritis began to deform my finger joints. I fell into such a depression that was having so many more effects on my health than I ever thought possible. Housework, shopping and cooking simply fell by the wayside and muddling through each day was a difficult thing for me.
As I have said in the previous chapter, the book of Psalms was my greatest comfort. I gradually found out that all these symptoms of stress and grief are mentioned there. The following passage from David’s 31st Psalm speaks so eloquently of such grief.
“Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble;
My eye wastes away with grief,
Yes, my soul and my body!
For my life is spent with grief,
And my years with sighing;
My strength fails because of my iniquity,
And my bones waste away.
I am a reproach among all my enemies,
But especially among my neighbours,
And am repulsive to my acquaintances;
Those who see me outside flee from me.
I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel.
For I hear the slander of many;
Fear is on every side;
While they take counsel together against me,
They scheme to take away my life.” Psalms 31:9-13
Of course, the whole Psalm is most excellent, but I have selected these verses as they mention the bones wasting away, feeling like a broken vessel and one’s strength failing due to the grief, trouble and persecution. He ends the Psalm with, “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Amen.
Yet despite the fact that tears and weeping are quite the natural response to grief, I had to listen in the early days, to my “Job’s comforters” telling me that they don’t know how to deal with people who are crying, and they think it is all quite unnecessary!! And yet, after listening to them and feeling hurt by their lack of compassion for me (and all who are hurting) the Lord caused me to just happen upon a lovely healing passage in a Christian booklet. Such is His way of ministering to His beloved people, is it not? The story I stumbled upon was relating the simple compassion of a child to an elderly person who was grieving. It encompassed the compassion of Romans 12:15,
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”
And also, the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ had human feelings and reactions too, as we read of Him weeping upon the death of His friend.
“Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?”
They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”” John 11:33-36
The Lord also reminded me of the following passage:
“Blessed are you who weep now,
For you shall laugh.
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man’s sake.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.” Luke 6:21-23
So, we are in fact blessed when we weep in the grief of our rejection for the Lord’s sake. As my husband had said various things against the Lord at various times, I knew that this blessing for weeping was for me, as it is for all who are badly treated for His name’s sake.
Again David expresses such weeping in Psalm 6.
“Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled;
But You, O Lord—how long?
I am weary with my groaning;
All night I make my bed swim;
I drench my couch with my tears.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
It grows old because of all my enemies.
Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity;
For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my supplication;
The Lord will receive my prayer.” Psalms 6:2-3 & 6-9
On the day that my husband actually left us I went for a drive into the countryside and I sat on a bench overlooking a small lake, which in ordinary circumstances was a beautiful spot which would lift one’s spirits, but it could not reach my frozen heart that day. I sent the following text to someone I knew:-
“My heart is full of sadness. I cannot take in the beauty of the scenery but am comforted by Luke 6:21-22. Without the Lord I would be desolate, without any hope. With Him, I have a hope that He will gently lead me on day by day. I am blessed of God.”
In due course, I found a great many other references to weeping in the Bible that I knew that my “Job’s comforters” were wrong to be so unfeeling of another person’s expression of grief by tears. We need to cry. Tears are the natural outlet for our emotion of grief. Yes, they can be exhausting. Yes, one may wonder if they will ever end. But yes, they will eventually fade away, become less frequent, until the Lord and time finally heals our pain.
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
Although in the cases of marriage breakdown and divorce the night of weeping can last for a considerable period of time, I wish to give you hope that the tears will lessen and one day you will be at peace again. Recently I went out for a short walk and was able to once again take delight simply in the scenery and the breeze blowing gently upon me. It felt good to be alive again. Let me encourage you to keep on crying out to the Lord and reading His Word and listening to His voice and you will find, as I have, that He will answer you and strengthen you and your faith at the same time.
And we can all look forward with longing hearts to the heavenly future that God has prepared for those who love and obey Him, those who make up the “bride of Christ,” when all crying, pain and tears will be a thing of the past, never to be endured again.
“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”” Revelation 21:2-4
I will just share with you a small entry from my journal from those early tear-filled days.
“It is finished. But the pain goes on and on and on! I am in anguish and frequent tears and brokenness. I long for a time when I am at peace and happy and well again. I long for this heartbreak to subside. I dislike crying all the time. I hate all the worries about money and paying massive bills. Lord Jesus, please help me. There is pain every way that I turn. Please give me Your peace. Please help me to keep on forgiving everyone. Please give me Your wisdom to deal with my life. Amen.”
Tears of the racking
Pure, raw emotion.
Tears from the breaking
Of marital devotion.
Tears of a heartbreaking
From complete rejection.
Tears from the pain
Of absentee affection.
Tears being overwhelmed
By any simple task.
Tears of depression
That I simply cannot mask.
Tears of pure sadness
And bleak despair.
Tears of loneliness
When nobody is there.
Tears that leak out
Lying in the sun.
Tears that cause others
To turn from me and shun.
Tears are my constant
Yet healing way.
Tears that will lessen
As day passes day.
“When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path.”
Overwhelmed is the most accurate word to describe my state in the early days. In fact I was completely overwhelmed most of the time initially. Coping with one small task like phoning the utility company or getting some food shopping or even emptying the rubbish bin used to overwhelm me and deplete any energy that I had. The feeling of being so alone in the world with no-one to turn to anymore would constantly overwhelm me. Yet the bible says that when we are in such a state God knows all about it. The whole Psalm 142 is good to read. David wrote it when he was hiding in a cave from his enemies and it describes him “crying out to the Lord”, “pouring out his complaint,” and “declaring his trouble to God”. Then at the end of verse 4 he says, “Refuge has failed me; no one cares for my soul”, but then he states, “You (God) are my refuge…”
I, like David before me, poured out to the Lord in prayer all my brokenness, my pain, my fears, my loneliness, my confusions and sheer anguish of heart. I would read the Psalms and see my feelings and experiences mirrored there and find a little solace for my soul. What a marvellous gift of linguistic ability the Psalm writers had and what a miracle that they are preserved and available to us to read still today. And you may find, like I did, that as they are part of “The Word of God” that the Lord can use these words to bring His wonderful peace and comfort to you in your time of desperation. All of God’s wonderful attributes are described in the book of Psalms, such as his mercy, kindness, love, strength, protection, vindication and salvation. If all you can manage today is reading a few verses then that is a good thing. God knows your feelings of being overwhelmed and He will give you just enough strength to cope with the needs of this day.
Many times I just needed to lounge with my new soft, fluffy, fleece blanket wrapped around me surrounded by my new soft, fluffy cushions and I would sit and watch DVD’s of nice period dramas or nice old musicals or films. Anything at all really to take your mind off yourself and your pain for a little while and to keep those tears at bay. As time passed by I was finally able to have the improved concentration to take up new undemanding type of hobbies, but that came much, much later on for me. Well-meaning people had suggested such hobbies in the early days but I was not ready or able to concentrate on anything at that point.
Each of us heals at different rates though and each of us finds comfort in different things too. It’s just a case of realising that this is a justifiable time in life when one needs to be very kind and gentle with oneself. Oftentimes I would feel that I ought to be able to manage more than I actually could and by thinking in that way was adding my own extra and unnecessary burden of stress onto my already fragile ability to cope. Give yourself permission to take all the necessary time that you need to recover. Remember that you only need strength for this moment in this day and remember too that each person’s time required to feel well and strong again differs between people. Please don’t feel daunted by my or anyone else’s length of healing time. If you allow the Lord into the centre of your troubles He will be your healer and that in His perfect time for you personally. Though there is much that we may feel in common in these circumstances there will always be many different lessons that the Lord would have each of us individually learn along the way.
I will end this section with another appropriate Psalm of David followed by a poem I wrote to express my early pain.
“Hear my prayer, O Lord, Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me and in Your righteousness…
For the enemy has persecuted my soul: he has crushed my life to the ground;
He has made me dwell in darkness, like those who have long been dead.
Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is distressed.
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land…
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.”
Psalm 143:1, 3-6, 8
Crushed and Broken
Crushed and broken, rejected and bruised,
My heart is wounded and abused.
I lie alone and cry out in pain,
I weep and sob again and again.
On and on the days drag by,
I frequently just want to die.
To find the peace that eludes me here
To be with my Jesus and have no fear.
I’m at the bottom of the deepest pit.
I have no strength to even sit,
So I lie in my bed and sob and weep,
This heartbreak well is black and deep.
My appetite has fled and gone,
I fade away and the days drag on.
Unable to do even the simplest task,
Yet the world looks no deeper than my mask!
My clothes and make-up mask my pain.
“You look well!” they say in vain,
As inwardly my thoughts obsess
About my life in such a mess.
The rejections they are deep and many
My heart needs love but can’t find any.
I reason that Christ may have felt this way,
When all turned from Him on His blackest day.
I’m aware the Lord sees all and knows,
The cruel words and hurtful blows
That stab into my wounded heart
And feel as if they’ll never depart.
4. In Your Anger Do Not Sin
“In your anger, do not sin:
do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
nor give place to the devil.”
“Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed,
and be still. … put your trust in the Lord.” Psalm 4:4-5
Reeling in pain and consumed by injustice, anger was frequently bubbling at the surface and seeking to break out. One very memorable day I gave myself permission to release just a tiny fragment of this dangerous emotion as I went to the kitchen cupboard and took out the blue striped mug, which I had previously bought for my husband, and I went into the yard and hurled it with all my might to the ground! On contact with the ground it shattered into many fragments and lay silently scattered as a small symbol of a shattered marriage and as a witness to the violent emotions of my broken life, broken promises and devastatingly broken heart! The pieces lay where they landed for over a year before I finally felt able to do the difficult task of collecting these shards and disposing of them more sensibly in the dustbin.
This was if I am perfectly honest, not the first or only outburst of my anger. In the early days a few ungodly words had passed my lips and I had given vent to my anger by throwing the phone on the floor on one particularly bad day and feeling immense anger at many of the small injustices that continually occurred. I did however, immediately ask for God’s forgiveness for doing so (and asking everyone’s forgiveness if I sinned against them or in their presence) and also kept asking for His help to not have fits of rage in this fashion. I realised early on that they were due to wanting things my own way rather than following God’s way. The above scripture tells us that in our anger we ought not to sin but put all our trust in the Lord. This was cutting edge Christianity. This was a life of extreme forgiveness. This was a true and thorough testing of my faith.
I found the following from Psalms to be relevant to this situation:
“You pushed me violently, that I might fall, but the Lord Helped me.” Psalm 118:13
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” Ps 119:71
Oh but the Lord was good to me. He woke me with His precious word saying, “Do to others as you want them to do to you,” then also, “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.” I was seeking God’s help and he spoke in the night. I meditated within my heart on my bed and was still before the Lord as I pondered His word to me and His wonderful presence that filled me with all of His love and compassion for the very person who was causing my pain. The Lord answered my cries for help to change my reactions from anger and selfishness to mercy and kindness. What a wonderful God He is! He didn’t come to me with a rebuke for my sins but with His tenderness and His heart changing Holy Spirit presence and His life changing living words from the Bible. God Himself was using all the pain and anger that I was struggling with and transforming me by His love into a more Christ-like person; a person more able to help others in their time of distress, a person who was gradually learning to die to self and live more for Christ Jesus.
Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. … If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me.” John 12:24-26
And also, in Mathew’s gospel,
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
So this is what “dying to self” felt like; feeling the pain, allowing the Lord to forgive me my sinful reactions, asking for His help and then being transformed by His word and His Spirit within me.
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed …” 2 Corinthians 4:6-9
So, though I gave in to the impulse to smash my husband’s mug I was now allowing God to smash me; the sinful parts, the worldly parts, the fleshly parts. That included all my selfishness, pride, ambitions, my security, reputation and my rights. And yes, it has been very painful and yes it has taken time and yes it is a life-long process. But the biggest “Yes” of them all is my response to the question, “Is it worth it?” To allow the Lord access to the deepest core part of my life and to experience His love and power to change me has made these years of the rejection by my husband to be a privilege to be counted worthy of suffering for His name.
Walking A Tightrope?
“The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down.” Psalm 145:14
“The Lord lifts up the humble…” Psalm 147:6
I was finding that life was certainly a roller-coaster of emotions. Up one day and down another. Happy and coping at one moment then feeling in the pit of despair and anguish another. Then with all the anger issues constantly assailing me from different angles I fell briefly into a kind of despair that my life was so difficult, and the path was now in my thinking as narrow as a tightrope, and as difficult to balance on as such! Help! How was I to continue pleasing the Lord when I truly felt like I kept falling off this tightrope? I was now imagining myself in a crumpled heap on the ground as I had once again fallen off this imaginary tightrope after my latest angry outburst! And then the Lord corrected my thinking by showing me that this was not true at all. He is my good heavenly Father and He revealed that just as a good parent’s hands are hovering to catch and set back on its feet the newly walking baby so too my Heavenly Father was hovering to pick me up when I fell. And He also revealed that it was not a tightrope but simply a “narrow and difficult path” as always for the Christian. Once again it helped me to substitute the female word “woman” in place of the bible’s “man” to really bring home the meaning of Psalm 37:23-24.
“The steps of a good woman are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in her way.
Though she fall, she shall not be utterly cast down;
for the Lord upholds her with His hand.”
What a treasure this scripture was to me at that moment. The Lord gave me such delight in understanding His loving, tender care for me. And that this care and love was still there towards me even in my moments of failure. Even as I occasionally lost my self-control, I was not left crushed by my sin but now I was comforted as I realised that when I sinned, and then realised it, I would turn for God’s forgiveness and knew that He granted it to me as the bible says,
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and
to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
I found the following scriptures also corrected my faulty thinking in this matter and could see that the Lord was mostly guiding me and keeping “my feet from falling”.
“Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul would soon have settled in silence.
If I say, “My foot slips,” Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up.
In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul”
“For You have delivered my soul from death.
Have you not kept my feet from falling,
That I may walk before God in the light of the living?” Psalm 56:13
I was now greatly helped to realise how close the Lord was to me and how His heart and desires were for me, to help me in this process of dealing with anger, forgiveness and coping with singleness. I was not alone and certainly I was not on a tightrope as previously imagined.
6. Do Not Worry or Fret
“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret – it only causes harm.”
Humanly speaking, we can’t seem to help looking into what appears from a heart broken perspective as an exceedingly bleak and rather daunting future. Living with the distressingly hurtful chaos of the fall-out that undoubtedly follows the initial spousal abandonment sweeping over us at intermittent intervals on the various issues of money, possessions, housing, jobs, childcare and possible adultery, then worry and fretting seem to be the automatic response. And yet once again the Lord Jesus calls us to a higher standard than the one we would set ourselves. Is “not-worrying” and “not-fretting” humanly attainable in such circumstances? Well only with the Lord’s help it is. Not that I am claiming to have lived through this time worry and fret-free by any means, no indeed not; for I certainly suffered various bouts at varying degrees of severity. But, with all these struggles I kept bringing each new worry to the Lord in my prayers. Once again this is the work of a lifetime for the Christian to learn how to trust the Lord more quickly and more thoroughly with each worry or trial that crosses our paths, but those struggling in the aftermath of marriage breakdown can truly be thrown into the ferocious fiery furnace of fretting!
I would deal with one worry attack only to feel that I was doing “rather well now thank you very much,” only to be struck down by a fiery dart and fall into another pit of worry and fretting fears once again. As Christians we need to remember, of course, that,
“We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
Though our spouse may have turned on us and become as an enemy towards us we need to be as mindful as possible of this scripture and the following exhortations to,
“take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day…” (v13) and I especially want to draw your attention to verse 16 which says,
“above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able
to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”
And these darts can come as terrible rejecting words and actions and lies against you; not only from your spouse but they can come from other sometimes unexpected sources of family and friends, other church-goers and employers; in fact anyone at all can be used by the enemy of our souls to attempt to get us to sin and to turn away from a close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and Father God. The bottom line is to keep your personal relationship with the Lord close and strong. Keep reading the bible, even if it is only a little bit at a time, and keep praying honestly to Him. Every time you find yourself worrying and fretting about something bring that to the Lord for His help.
And yet practically we also need to ask other people’s help more than ever before. For me I had to learn to start employing tradesmen to keep the house maintained, and asking advice about garages for the car, advice perhaps about choosing a solicitor or financial advisor etc. Once each new emergency was resolved the worry receded. And boy oh boy, it seemed that an inordinate amount of practical problems flooded my life in a short space of time. Maybe when I was married they occurred at the same rate but were dealt with jointly; however, it did appear to me that the frequency of such practical emergencies came as more an onslaught rather than a trickle once I was alone and depressed! To start with a flat roof had a massive leak in torrential rain, this was followed by a broken toilet, broken and leaking shower and bath which was followed by a broken washing machine, tumble dryer and microwave oven, to name just a few; not forgetting the gas boiler circuit-board that burnt itself out and the radiator valves that began to leak one at a time! As my decision-making abilities were at an all-time low at that time, each problem consequently felt quite mountainous for me to deal with. I suppose for me it was a case of worry, pray, deal with it, sorted, breathe a sigh of relief! However, sometimes the pray bit came a bit later in the sequence with consequently a bit more fretting and worrying! The particular worries about the possibility of losing my home I will refer to in the following chapter. For now I will leave you with my poem on this subject matter of worry.
Do Not Worry
Let me tell you a tale about “Worry”
And his partner called “Anxiety”,
Who together bring sorrow and bondage,
Great enemies to faith, as you’ll see.
We’re often exhorted by scripture
To be anxious for nothing at all.
To present our requests and petitions
To our God, who is always on call.
Great peace to our minds and our hearts,
Philippians said Christ would provide.
If we only would pray and not worry,
He’ll draw so close to our side.
Our Lord pointed to birds and to lilies,
Said His Father for them takes great care,
They’re fed and they’re clothed in great beauty
Not worried about what they should wear.
Such assurance of love He did give us,
For we’re more value to Him than a bird,
And we’re promised His care and provision
So often in His Holy Word.
But our enemies frequently stalk us.
Tomorrow can look daunting and bleak.
Then fear and anxiety and worry
Can rise in our hearts to a peak.
A peak of tremendous proportions
And we’re swamped in a mire of despair,
With no thought to the promise of Jesus,
To simply give all to Him in a prayer.
Yet this is precisely his tonic
To all of life’s worries and ills;
We’re to trust Him with all of our problems
Remember that fear is what kills!
It kills off our faith in Christ Jesus,
It kills off our hope and our trust.
And we end up a quivering wreck
When the Bible tells us that we must,
Simply cry out to our precious Lord Jesus,
Who’s ready to supply all we need.
First seek the things of His kingdom
Then freely He’ll clothe and He’ll feed.
7. Foxes Have Holes
“Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him,
“Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no-where to lay His head.”
Of course, on leaving his family to set his face towards a life of adultery my husband said that he would continue to pay all our bills. Within weeks of his departure this offer was withdrawn and money issues began to pile stress upon stress! His financial support was being slashed constantly. Suddenly, as he put it, he was “paying over the odds for his family”! That was another piercing arrow into my broken heart!
This I later discovered was typical behaviour, as Laura Petherbridege in her book “When I Do Becomes I Don’t” writes in her chapter on financial issues,
“Occasionally I’ll meet someone recently separated who says;
“I know my spouse and I won’t fight about money. He has agreed to maintain all the monthly payments.” – I cringe because I know from experience that within months, the guilt-prompted promises will fade. When legal bills, mounting payments for two households, and the temptation to splurge on a new single lifestyle set in, these commitments will dissolve.”
I discovered in the book of Micah when he was delivering a stern warning to the people of his time, he wrote the chastisement in Micah 2:9,
“The women of My people you cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children you have taken away My glory forever.”
And yes, the day didn’t take too long to dawn before my husband was saying, “The house is too big for you and don’t you think you should sell it and split the money!” I was still living with my three sons at the time and the house was the same as it had always been! This was just another area to cause me to panic, as life was spinning more and more out of my control! And yet God had not forsaken me. He never did and He never will. It is His promise in scripture and it has been my experience throughout this terrible time of trouble.
I managed by treading water for quite some time, keeping things afloat and offsetting the day of financial reckoning until the solicitors finally became involved in the divorce settlement some years later. In the meantime there eventually came a day when the Lord broke through into my heart by the above scripture of “foxes have holes…” The man mentioned in the passage says he will follow Jesus wherever He went but Jesus gave an immense challenge back of His nomadic lifestyle and lack of property ownership. This struck me profoundly and I wept much as I realised that I too had always been saying I would follow Jesus anywhere but now I came to realise that much of my security had been in my home.
I prayed, “Lord please forgive me for holding so tightly in my heart to my home and allowing such fear to hold me over the thought of losing it. Please help me to trust You alone and follow You alone whatever happens to my home or my finances. Please help me to change so I can be used for your Glory all the rest of my days.”
In the book of Hebrews 10:34 we read of commendation given to those early Christians for enduring sufferings, reproaches, tribulations and “joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.” I rediscovered by hard experience that God’s perspective on possessions and money was quite different to this world’s. Helen Roseveare, in her book “Digging Ditches” writes;
“So many of the things we think of as a price in a missionary’s life (giving up of home, culture, language, salary, pension, or being married and having a family) is truly a privilege. It is the amazing privilege of being identified with our Lord Jesus, who had nowhere to lay His head, and had to borrow a donkey, a penny and a tomb.”
So, I discovered that this was yet another area in my life where I was learning to be more like my Saviour. It was painful to realise my own weaknesses but good to confess them and seek His help for the future. The whole sad and painful time was like a refiners fire to purge from me what would be burnt up in any case when I finally stand before God at the judgement seat of those “written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (See Revelation 20).
8. Where does my help come from?
“Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
And rely on horses and trust in chariots ….
But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
Nor seek the Lord!
Now the Egyptians are men, and not God;
And their horses are flesh, and not spirit.” Isaiah 31:1 & 3
Now in scripture Egypt can represent “the world.” Remember that Moses led the Israelites “out of Egypt” towards the Promised Land. When we are saved or born-again, we have likewise come out of bondage or slavery to sin and are heading for our new destination of the promised land, which is heaven.
Now it happened, that just a couple of months after my husband’s departure the thought came to me, whilst speaking with another woman who had been similarly abandoned, that wanting our non-Christian, unbelieving husband’s back was rather like the freed Israelites in the wilderness wanting to return to the slavery of Egypt in the days of Moses. If so then I needed now to learn all that the Word of God had to teach me on the subject of how to handle this marital abandonment and subsequent divorce. Where ought I to turn for my help now that I had no husband? The obvious answer was in Psalm 121:1-2
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills-
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.”
So I continually cried out to God for help, strength, vindication and wisdom. I was in a new position whereby I had to learn to trust more fully than ever before in the Lord in my “wilderness wanderings,” of my time of loneliness, depression and grief as I acclimatised my thoughts, my heart and my soul to my new single situation.
I felt I had been warned not to look backwards to wanting my husband back again, but to look forwards to a new future that the Lord would lead me into, in His own gentle fashion. My role was to keep my focus on His Word, prayer and seeking His strength for me to live one day at a time.
Once I’d managed to live through this immensely painful process of letting go of my husband and of wanting my previous marriage restored, I then plunged headlong into a whirlpool of confused and raw emotions of wanting another man! I wanted the married feelings back of being loved, cherished and protected by a husband. Adapting to singleness was for me a tremendously difficult on-going battle in my mind and heart. I was constantly praying about this issue and the Lord enabled me to realise that wanting another man in my situation was once again wanting a man to be my “Rescuer, Healer and Deliverer,” which is the place in my life that belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone! Once again the Lord highlighted to me the same scripture as before which is that, “The Egyptians are men and not God,” in other words I simply had to learn the important lesson to fix my full trust in the Lord for this difficulty as well as all of my future needs. This was a process of letting go of this worldly desire to be remarried and coming to a point when I could finally say honestly to the Lord,
“Your will be done; whether single for the rest of my life or remarried, I trust you Lord with my whole future, however You want me to live it.”
I read a few books by Helen Roseveare at this time and took comfort in the fact that she too had struggles in this area of her life. I was also deeply challenged by her teaching of how for a Rose to become a useful Arrow it needed to have everything stripped away: petals, leaves, side branches, thorns and then even the bark. She writes;
“Would we allow God the right to invade our innermost beings, to strip us naked of ourselves, so that others looking at us would see only Jesus? Were we willing to give up our right to be ourselves in order to be wholly identified with Him, and so available to Him for whatever He wants and plans for our lives?”
This was, and always is, a massive challenge to us all. At certain points on certain issues my answer would be, “Yes Lord,” and then some other aspect of life required me to examine my motives all over again.
In my desire to please the Lord and seek Him alone to be my strength, wisdom, healing and deliverance I occasionally felt a twinge of sorrow that I had slipped once again into worldly thinking. And yet He was and is wonderfully merciful to keep forgiving and setting me back on the right path. I wrote the following poem in response to this issue of “Where does my help come from?”
Though I Promised…
Though I promised my life and my all
To my Lord and my master above,
I often find
That I’m always kind
Of turning to other sources of love.
Though I promised my heart and my mind
To serve Jesus my Saviour indeed,
I frequently spurn
His presence and turn
To the material world for my need.
Though I know He’s sufficient for all
The needs of my body and soul,
I sometimes forget
My needs can be met
Simply by Christ who’s making me whole.
Though I find that the pleasures of life
Can bring me some peace and distraction,
The feeling doesn’t last
And is speedily passed
And I’m left seeking true satisfaction.
Though I frequently fail in this life,
My God is so gracious to me,
He forgives and He guides
He reveals and provides
For all of my needs as you’ll see.
Though I’m growing in trust in my Lord,
To heal all my sorrow and pain,
To provide for my need
To clothe and to feed,
I am finding with Him I will gain.
I will gain the greatest treasure of all,
Which is Godliness whilst being content;
Then whatever life brings
I still find my heart sings
Of my glorious Saviour God sent.
9. More Value Than Many Sparrows
“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?
And not one of them is forgotten before God.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
When one’s spouse rejects you then there are some tremendously difficult issues to deal with pertaining to one’s value and role in life. We can be reeling in confusion regarding our identity now that we are no longer half of a married couple. It can take time to come to terms with this difficult matter. I had been part of a couple for twenty-seven years. It was not easy to think of myself in single terms of being just me, just Helen, as opposed to my identity as “Helen and husband”, that I had been all my adult life, up to that point.
I remember an incident that occured in those early days of great pain, after I had been for a swim (doctor’s orders) at a local hotel pool. As I stood, feeling all forlorn, at the reception desk waiting to get a refund on my locker key, I happened to notice a lady stood nearby holding a Bible. That seemed rather strange to me in that secular environment so I boldly approached her to ask why she was holding a Bible. Whereupon she informed me that she was staying at the hotel with a group of people from her church, as they were having a “Christian-weekend-away” together. I then bravely asked her if she would pray for me and my emotionally painful situation. It then transpired that not only was her own daughter called Helen, but her daughter’s husband had the same name as my husband! Not only that, but they also happened to live in the very same area that my husband had taken himself off to live. I just knew that God was there with me in that moment. Such details could only have been arranged by Him. I came home feeling overawed at the situation that had just occurred. I was touched to know that the lady would never forget my name and that I would thus be prayed for by the body of Christ.
I later reflected upon the story of Hagar in Genesis 10, after she had been cast out of her home, and was alone in the wilderness with her son. She cried out to God, who answered her. She said of the Lord, “You-are-the-God-who-sees-me”. I knew that He not only saw me but He loved and cared for me too.
It took me a considerable amount of time to adapt to just being me. But as I have said before, it was my continual reading of the book of Psalms that truly helped me through this process. It was there that the character of God was consolidated in my heart and mind, thought the wonderful descriptions therein. Some examples follow, although they are much richer and more meaningful when read in context.
Our God is:
Loving, kind, tender, compassionate, gracious, good and merciful.
He is also:
A shield, refuge, deliverer, shelter, fortress and a high tower.
He is also:
Great, powerful and mighty.
Many other scriptures explain that His people are very precious to Him. We are exhorted not to be afraid as we are more valuable to Him the birds and the flowers. Jesus said that the Father is aware of the lives of the tiny, seemingly insignificant, sparrow birds, and that we are more valuable to Him than those. Jesus said that the Father is aware of the number of hairs on our heads. That tells me that He knows EVERYTHING about me. There is NOTHING that escapes His notice, nor His care for His people. He knows how much we struggle with our identity now that we are all alone in the world. He told us to “Cast all your care on Him for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
So, if you are feeling all alone in the world, like Elijah once complained to the Lord; or if you are feeling rather fragile, like a seed blown about by strong winds beyond your control; or if you are hurting by being shunned by those you hoped would love and accept you; then please do remember that Elijah was not alone but the Lord was always with him, remember too that there are no storms of life that are beyond the Lord’s control, and that the Lord Jesus still loves you even when people fail you.
A Seed In The Breeze
As I cling to the edge of the world
My life like a seed in the breeze,
As my fingertips slip in their grip
It’s then that I fall to my knees.
I cry out to my Lord and my God
I plead for His mercy and love.
As He sees my rejection and sorrow
His comfort descends from above.
He knows all the cruel, treacherous words
The shuns and the doors slammed on me.
He feels all my pains and my tears
There’s nothing that He doesn’t see.
When my husband, companions and others
Turned their backs so completely on me,
It’s then I remember that Christ
Took my sins on himself on that tree.
As companions who went to the church
Bitter judgements against me they say,
Yet I turn in my grief to my Lord
And His Word comforts me all the day.
I may feel all alone like Elijah,
Yet I know that my God will sustain
He’s the same God today as back then
And His peace and His love still remain.
10. Be Merciful
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you and pray for those who spitefully use you…
Just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise…
Therefore, be merciful, just as your Father also is Merciful.”
Luke 6:27-28, 31 & 36 also Matthew 5 & 7:12
After a few months I was truly challenged by the Lord regarding the above scriptures. I had just received the rather large winter gas and electricity bills which had thrown me into a complete panic, especially as I had requested financial help with them from my absentee husband only to be declined the level of help I felt I needed and deserved. I felt he “should pay” as he had previously said he would do! Yet now the lesson I learned on this occasion is the tender, loving kindness of our God. The Lord didn’t come to me with any kind of strictness or harsh rebuke; He just spoke the scriptures to me and planted all of His amazing mercy, love and gentle kindness into my heart as He did so. His wonderful transformation of my thinking at this quite urgent point will remain in my memory forever. I was immediately moved with the Lord’s compassion for my husband (who was appearing to have financial difficulties himself at that time) and rushed off to send a very different text to him than I had sent previously in my own strength. God caused me to write, “Dearest…” which was all the Lord and not me at that time due to my emotional pain, and I then went on to offer to pay for both of the bills myself. Initially he turned down this offer but subsequently he accepted and his reply was also softened by the kindness that God had caused me to exhibit towards him.
He wrote, “Thank you for your kindness. I really don’t deserve it…”
And I thought that none of us ever really deserves God’s mercy and kindness and yet He still bestows it liberally upon all who will receive it. Luke 6:35 says,
“Love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return;
and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.
For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”
God’s level of kindness is mind blowing. In our broken and hurting humanity such love, mercy, forgiveness and kindness towards our enemies or to those who spitefully use us or to those who curse us would appear like a completely unrealistic goal. Our natural reaction is self-protection and anger at all the injustice and pain. Our flesh reaction is to see the offender suffer and pay for what we perceive to be their wrong doing. It seems to be beyond our human ability to follow the advice of the scriptures mentioned above, and that is exactly what I kept finding when various new difficulties, challenges and painful betrayals came my way. And yet God came. In Romans 5:8 we read:-
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
He came to offer His loving forgiveness to all who will look to Him and repent of their sins. But He doesn’t leave us there alone and helpless, He fills us with His Holy Spirit who is the part of God who teaches us the correct way to behave and think and who also fills us with the ABILITY to do what the Word of God says.
My journal entry after such a blessed day was:-
“I love the Lord Jesus and my Father God so, so very much. He is so good to me. I am now so much calmer than I was. Praise His name. Amen.”
I later wrote the following poem based on these scriptures as a summary of such great life- transforming teaching.
Love Your Enemies & Be Merciful
When Jesus Christ was here on earth
He said our enemies we should love.
And when the people curse and hate
He taught us to rise above.
In return for their spiteful ways
Christ taught us to bless and pray.
Even when they ask for your things
Let them freely take them away.
Do to others as you would like
Them to do unto you.
If you forgive them when they sin
God can then forgive you too.
Great mercy He showed to all the world
Now the same He asks of us.
Kindness He showed to sinful men
And so, we should cease our fuss.
Our fussing when we’re overlooked,
When we’re wrongly judged by others.
Fuss when our rights are trampled on
When despised not loved as brothers.
How can we ever reach this height
Of mercy that He taught?
Yet He provides the power to do
Exactly as we ought.
The Holy Spirit He will give
To aid you in His ways.
He’ll fill your heart to overflowing
To amaze you all your days.