Sunday, December 15, 2013
Following Where God Takes You After Divorce
Opportunities as By-Products
So wanted to followup on the whole concept of the opportunities after a divorce. There could be differing interpretations of what that might mean, though I think the last blog was pretty clear on what my intention was. But many pursue divorce believing in another perspective of the opportunities, and I want to address that other point of view today. That point of view basically is this: “I will get a divorce SO THAT I have other opportunities to be everything I could be, because my marriage is holding me back.”
I will say outright that I believe that kind of thinking is flawed, if not even a myth. Yes, a divorce will remove you from a bad marriage. But often a bad marriage ends up in a bad divorce…instead of being married to the person, you are divorced to them…entanglements don’t disappear, they instead become more complicated, and less about common goals. Instead of spending all that time, money and energy on divorce and the aftermath, surely the best first option would be to spend the same kind of time, money and energy in the possibility of making a bad marriage better.
“But what if my marriage is holding me back, suppressing my personality?” Perhaps that is what truly is occurring. But could it not also be that the close relationship of a marriage is challenging your personality, confronting you with areas of your character in which you need to grow, develop and see beyond yourself? Certainly one of God’s purposes in marriage is to create a safe and loving environment in which we face the hard areas of ourselves that we might become something more than we are alone.
In my observation, many people who leave a marriage to pursue opportunities that they believe await them if they can only get away from their spouse, actually end up seriously disappointed and disillusioned.
Kind of like the old saying about those who believe that “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.” It seems to me this faulty thinking is part of what sets up the statistic that second marriages suffer a significantly higher divorce rate than first marriages, and third marriages even higher.
Because wherever we go, we take ourselves with us. And if we have not been willing to face our issues when first confronted with them, we carry those same issues into the next relationship. Running away from problems rarely settles any of our problems.
But I do believe that, if a marriage has come to the point that divorce is the end result, then the new situation of life is the material God has to work with in our lives. That is simply the by-product of being divorced. I think this is true especially for a partner who has been abandoned by another. I don’t think God’s desire is to set up a divorce for the purpose of creating opportunities in life. I think his desire is for marriage until death to be the ideal pursued for which we put forth our effort. But, just as God was able to take the cross of Christ and do something wonderful through it, or the sufferings of Paul and turn them into lessons he shared with us in scripture, so he can take the tragedy of broken marriages and create opportunities for something new.
But those opportunities must be approached with sensitivity to God’s leading, if we are going to receive the blessings he seeks to create.
There are many times in scripture where we find God taking the brokenness of individual lives and accomplishing something unexpectedly wonderful through them. Perhaps the early bumblings of Moses is one of the greatest examples. Or you may prefer the descent into the pit experienced by Joseph. In both cases, someone who suffered severe reversals in life ended up being used by God for mighty deeds. So while I would never suggest someone pursue divorce as an escape route to make opportunities for themselves, I would acknowledge that even divorce can end up being something out of which God can do something good and meaningful. It is the story of my own life, and my prayer is, that it will be the story of yours if you have been the victim of divorce as well. Seek God’s guidance in obedience, and he will get you there. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Or even next year. But over time you will discover God’s hand upon you, helping you through to the higher plane he desires in your life.