By Chris L
I sit here sort of anxious to write this, but I want people to know the redemptive power of God whenever life does not go the way that we imagined. Watermark Young Adults (https://www.theporch.live/blog) just got home from an amazing three-day weekend of worship, fellowship, prayer, praise, and many fun activities. Afshin Ziafat, the pastor for the weekend, shared the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham had a promise made to him by God that his descendants would outnumber the stars and that his people would be blessed through these descendants, well…Abraham was reaching an age that he and his wife were not going to have children (in their 90’s), so Abraham takes it upon himself to “help” God out when he decided to sleep with his maidservant and have a child (because God obviously forgot his promise to him, right?). Long story short, God blessed Abraham and Sarah with a son named Isaac, and through Abraham and Isaac we have the lineage of our Savior Jesus Christ.
My favorite part of the sermon was where Afshin helped me realize that we mimic Abraham to some degree. We make a conscious decision that God is clueless to His blessings for us, so we proceed to take matters into our own hands. Whether it’s a job, a relationship, a marriage…or fill in the blank! Well, about seven years ago, I was a soon-to-be-graduate of college; I had an amazing girlfriend at that time, and I decided to take matters into my own hands and ask for her hand in marriage. (Side-note: I knew God was semi-involved or I would not have proceeded.) I was convicted to share this story because I was reading in Nehemiah 2 this morning and found the brilliance in the prayer that paves the way for a decision, especially a big decision. The King noticed that something was wrong with Nehemiah, and upon questioning he found out Nehemiah was sad because Nehemiah himself was a leader in the Persian Empire, but his family’s homeland (Jerusalem) was desolate. So when the King asked Nehemiah what he wanted…Nehemiah THEN prayed before answering the King. What if we followed suit and realized that sometimes OUR KING wants us to pray before we make a decision, big or small. Unlike Abraham, who took matters into his own hands before God fulfilled His own promises via Abraham and Sarah’s true son Isaac. I’ve noticed myself weighing the pros and cons of a decision without consulting God; have you? I encourage you to find Scripture to base your decision on, then get with wise counsel and seek out wisdom on that decision.
God can still bless a broken path that you made for yourself. I know this because I ended up marrying the young lady I spoke of earlier. We were married a short one-and-a-half years before my life was rocked by the confession of an affair. I did not know what to do, except to love her. Marital love forgives, it understands, it does not easily anger, and it presses on in difficult times. Was I perfect in my love to her? By no means could I claim that. I learned a lot about “love languages” post-affair and tried to emulate what the book taught me, but I was a little too late. I learned about making more deposits in a love bank than debits. I learned of the “platinum” rule…a leap beyond what the golden rule states. The platinum rule says that I will treat others the way that THEY WANT to be treated. I might not understand why a certain love language speaks love to someone, but by all means…I will sacrifice my own understanding in order to demonstrate a love that the other person understands. Another year and a multitude of circumstances out of my control led my ex-wife to leave our home and start over on her own with a new person. It was devastating. I didn’t know how to cope, except to turn to family and friends and ultimately God.
I knew as time went by that God was in control. I continued my prayers for my ex-wife because I knew her heart was out of control during our divorce. She was openly apologetic and sought my forgiveness – which she had from day one. It was a blessing to see her get back on track in her walk with Christ and another blessing for her to let me know that she was refocusing on the woman she was the day I asked her to marry me (ultimately a sign that seeds planted during our divorce were coming to fruition). I cannot say that I regret my circumstances because I have learned more in those 2.5 years than I would have learned otherwise. God has readied my heart to follow closely to Him, seek Him, love Him, and keep Him at the center of my focus. My life, at the end of the day, revolves around Christ and the power of His resurrection and forgiveness of my sins. Much like Abraham felt the glory of God when he and Sarah bore Isaac to the world, I feel the glory of God as I passionately pursue Him and bear Christ to the world. I hope you know that it is difficult to passionately pursue God until you realize that He is passionately pursing you!
Thanks for reading into my heart at a deeper level. I know that many people, unfortunately, have been through a divorce or some other heartache that can and should be used as a stepping stone towards the cross and the abundant life promised by our creator. Never forget that God has your best interest at heart, and that is something to be joyful about. That being said…
" 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." ~James 1:2-4 (NIV)
" 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)