There was a time in my life, not too long ago, that I was in a hopeless situation. My marriage was completely dead and both my wife and I knew it. We’d known it for years and it had taken a toll on me, but the blow of actually hearing the words “I want a divorce” is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The pain was real – and intense. All I wanted was someone to want to be with me, but she didn’t.
There were many sleepless nights and repetitive questions from me to God wondering why this was happening. After all, I was a good dude! At least that’s what everyone told me, including my soon to be ex-wife. So why? Why in the world was my life getting ripped to shreds? Why did my decision to separate immediately result in only being able to see my children half the time? Why is she not coming home? Why can’t I sleep, and why do I feel like I’m going to puke every 5 minutes? I swear, I literally lost 10lbs from going mad! During the two weeks that followed my separation, I kept a journal so that I could process all of these new emotions. By the end of those two weeks, I could hardly remember the pain of day 1. (It will pass!!!!!!!!)
Those of you who have been there are probably thinking back and getting the nasty burn in your stomach like I am right now. I was just as much a prisoner during the span of our unhappy marriage, but the finality of our decision had me feeling hopeless for the first time. I had no idea where to go or who to talk to to make me feel better. Sure, there were plenty of people around, but at the end of the day, it was just me alone in my room. When the lights turned off, all I could feel was failure and emptiness. This was the darkest time in my life.
For those of you that are feeling the fresh sting of separation – this is for you. For those of you who have been broken to the point of suicidal thoughts – this is for you. For those in the midst of bankruptcy, divorce, or dealing with the loss of a loved one – and you can’t possibly imagine life alone – this is for you.
Although my perspective is based on an ending marriage, many circumstances can cause the type of pain and hopelessness that I felt. I was in that house of pain and as far as I was concerned, there were no windows to look through. I was there with nothing else left but a choice to a) succumb to the enormous weight of my situation (through gossip, drinking, vengeance, etc.) or to b) have faith in a God that I once knew to get my back.
Option “A” was always my “go-to” and the familiarity of it was strangely comforting. Option “B” was one that I was being urged to go with by my grandfather, but in my mind was not ideal because it required taking a look within. I wondered if having faith in someone (God) who let this happen to a good man like me was really worth it. Still, I half-heartedly decided to choose God, because at this point – what did I have to lose?
So what exactly was the difference between the familiar recourse of “Option A” and God? Hope. My past was how I got to my present and there was no hope there. God, however, at least gave me hope. This is how and when my spiritual journey really started. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” When I read this for the first time, it really resonated with me. I could not see past my own junk, but I realized that having faith in God to open a door gave me hope, so… it was just me and God now!
There are plenty of examples of the faithful waiting for God’s rescue in the Bible. Sometimes it was swift and other times it took hundreds of years. I can’t tell you what God’s metric is for saving your butt, but I can tell you that when He does it, it will be for a purpose and it will come in like a flood. The key here is to have faith before He does or you won’t know when it’s happening. It took almost a year for God’s redemption plan to completely unfold for me, but He mercifully allowed me to get a glimpse in the beginning.
I began to seek God’s word and surround myself with other men of God. My hope slowly turned into a burning desire for more and I felt myself crawling from the place I once was. Eventually, I gave my life to Jesus and He turned my mess into a message for others who have been where I once was.
The point here is that you have a choice. You are in the fire right now, but you have NO IDEA what lies around the corner for you. I was on the wrong side of a tall wall with happiness but a stone’s throw away – and I had no idea. It was the decision to have faith and look within to make necessary changes that made His blessing possible.
I’ve included some verses that helped me through the first couple of weeks. The first is not a verse, but a prayer. If you do not have a realtionship with the Lord, all you have to do is say this prayer and you have started your spritual journey with Jesus Christ!
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name. Amen.
How to pray and be patient:
Psalm 4: 4-5 (MSG)
Complain if you must, but don’t lash out.
Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking.
Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.
Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God:
Psalm 91 (NKJV)
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)
You’re not alone, God Will Care
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.