Monday, April 7, 2008

Standing in the Rain... of divorce

We’ve all probably seen the pictures on the news following devastating storms… pictures of houses blown apart, sometimes up to their roofs in floodwaters and in some cases even sliding downhill into the sea. It i amazing that something as commonplace and normal as rain can at times be so devastating to homes. This Sunday we’re continuing our series “Stand in the Rain” by looking at the “rain” of divorce. Nothing can tear a home apart quicker than divorce. It is something that has probably affected most of our families in one way or another. Whether it was your parents, maybe your children, friends or perhaps even your own marriage… divorce has touched all of us in some way. Sadly, the statistics of divorce among Christian families isn’t all that different from the rest of society. Why is that?

As I approach this topic for the lesson on Sunday I am painfully of aware that church has not always done a good job handling this subject. It seems churches have taken one extreme or another when it comes to divorce. Either we want to preach so dogmatically the error of divorce that we leave the impression God hates the divorcee (a gross misinterpretation of Malachi 2:16)… OR in an effort not to offend anyone we lesson the force of Malachi 2:16 and leave an equally false impression. The reality of it is… God DOES hate divorce and I imagine anyone who has been through one personally understands exactly why. It isn’t God’s intention for us. It disrupts the family, God’s first and primary institution! And it is never fair to the children.

So, for Sunday I want to do several things. One, I want to pray for God’s protection for our families. Divorce doesn’t just happen… it is the culmination of events over time that lead a couple to make this decision… or that lead a spouse to leave. But God can strengthen good families and protect them from harm and from the chaos of divorce if we will “dwell in the shelter of the Most High and rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (our theme verse for this series—Psalm 91:1). Two, I want to offer hope and healing to those who have experienced or are experiencing a painful divorce. God can heal the brokenhearted. He can heal hurting marriages and he can heal those dealing with the scars of long ago. Third, I want to rejoice in the grace that is available to all of us. Divorced or not… the truth is that we have ALL sinned and fallen short of God’s ideal… yet we are extended grace by a loving and forgiving God who understands us better than we understand ourselves.

1 comment:

George said...

Jim, I'll be praying for you and the message you are led to deliver to Washington St this Sunday. This is such a sensitive topic; but, as you know from the statistics, it is vital that it be addresses.

May I speak from experience? As you know, I was divorced over 10 years ago. I have looked back on that time and the years before and found that there was really an 'unequal yoking' which may have been as much to blame as anything. While my ex and I were not close to God at the time we were married, I returned to Him. I thought she had too. But, in retrospect, I'm not sure that she had.

It is probably partially my fault for not being a strong leader for her in spiritual matters. We grew apart. I grew closer to God; she did not. Eventually, she chose to chase after a sinful lifestyle (homosexuality) which I could not condone. By then, the damage was done; the relationship and trust were broken and we split.

This story is one which you may use, if it will help you to deliver God's message in that regard. I pray for God's blessings as you minister His Word in this matter.

George T.

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