I shared a story about a difficult Christmas in my last post. It was our family’s first Christmas after my parent’s divorce. Divorce is a difficult reality most of us will face either directly or indirectly. It is the result of brokenness. For many years I spent a lot of time crying out to God, asking him “why”? Why was my family broken, why did He let this happen? It tormented me and kept me stuck in my emotions and feelings of loss.
The difficult Christmas night I sat in my car alone, watching a happy family through their window (really it wasn’t creepy), something in my heart was formed- a strength and fortitude I would not be aware of until many years later.
In his book, A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis wrote,
But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless. … What do people mean when they say “I am not afraid of God because I know He is good”? Have they never even been to a dentist?
God is for us. Do not be deceived by the emotions in the midst of pain. They cloud our vision and blind us from what is good. It is hard to look for good when our hearts are broken, but it is there. If we can not see it in the moment, have faith, we will see it in God’s good time.
Because I experienced the suffering of a broken family, I understood the cost of quitting. When I got married several years later and took my vows, I understood every word; in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, to honor and obey, ’til death do us part. I promised God to persevere through the trials of my marriage, because I knew too well the cost. God knew I would need this resolve. He knew my story before it began. He knows yours too.
What suffering have you endured that God has redeemed for good? Or are you stuck in the middle of your pain, unable to see any purpose? When we can’t see beyond our trial, we can’t see God. He can not redeem what we do not bring to Him.
Jesus spoke to His disciples whom He knew would suffer greatly in his name:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” John 15: 5-6
The worst thing we can do in the midst of trials is forsake the goodness of God because we are bitter, angry, or frightened. God calls us to stay with Him and abide in Him, so He may uphold and guide us. God answers our cries of “why” in Romans 5:
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5: 3-5
And herein lies the redemption of our suffering. It is for a purpose. We may not see it, but it is there.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Dear God bless the families who have endured or are enduring the trials of divorce and brokenness in their homes. Pour your Holy power over them God and give them strength to save what can be saved and let go what must be released to you God. Through faith in Christ we are adopted into your eternal family God. I pray for the souls who read this and do not know you, that they will choose today to surrender their lives to you Father. Yours is a family that will never be broken. Heal the families afflicted by divorce God, bring others alongside them to minister to them and love them God, especially the children. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.