I was about to walk into a meeting last week when I noticed someone waiting in our office area. I didn’t know who he was, I had never seen him before but I could tell he wanted to talk. So, I put my other meeting on hold and introduced myself. What I found out was that he had been eating at a local fast food restaurant when he ran into one of the members that attends the church I serve. He was struggling, his marriage was falling apart, his wife had filed for divorce and he didn’t want that. This sweet member told him to come talk to me and he told me that the member said, “Go talk to Steve, he will know what to do.”
I am thankful for the confidence this member put in me and I am especially thankful that this member engaged this man and tried to help. Back to the story…we talked for a long while and he told me his story. He told me about the marital problems, the PTSD from serving our country, his two children who were VERY young (the youngest hadn’t even reached 6 months yet). He cried as he talked about trying to conquer his anger problems and how God had been transforming him. He told me about his love for his wife and his absolute commitment to trying to make it work and fix what was broken. As we talked I sympathized with this man. My heart broke for his situation and I wish I had the ability to take a magic wand wave it around and make it all better. I couldn’t.
So, we prayed…a lot! We prayed for renewed love, for transformed hearts, we prayed for a glimmer of hope not matter how small to come from his wife. I gave him some resources, I told him about where he could get some professional help that could possibly save his marriage, I told him he had a lot to fight for and to not give up. He thanked me for my time and then he left. I wondered if I would ever hear from him again. I prayed for him multiple times after he left and then I got an email a week later. No progress. His wife won’t take his calls, she won’t consider the professional help. She is done.
Please understand that I am not passing blame on this man’s wife. I don’t know who she is, I don’t know what she had been put through and I don’t know her side of the story. But this whole situation got me thinking…what do you do when two people in covenant relationship want different things. What do you do when one wants to go their way and the other wants desperately for the opposite?
Then it hit me. Isn’t this a picture of our relationship with God? We want to do our thing, go our way and God desperately just wants us to choose him instead. After all that I have put him through he still longs for relationship with me. God’s love is so different from ours. Praise the LORD it is different than ours. Our love tends to be performance based…if you love me then I will love you. If you act right, don’t make me look like a fool, and do the things that make me happy then I will love you. But, if those things aren’t present love diminishes or disappears all together.
Oh that we would turn our eyes to the love of Jesus. Oh that his love would be the model for how we love others…those close to us and even those who aren’t.
I responded to my new friends email by reminding him that the most important thing he can do, regardless of his wife’s response, is to find his life in God. I told him that there is one that loves him even when he fails, even when he doesn’t measure up, and that no matter what he needed to keep walking with the Lord. May it be so! May it be so for my new friend and may it be so for you.
One more thing…if you are reading this and you are married please don’t take your spouse for granted. I have heard it said that marriage is like a hot bath…once you get used to it…it ain’t so hot. BUT, instead of getting out the bath…how about loving each other enough to continually add more hot water to your marriage. Continually pursue each other the way God continually pursues YOU.