Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Do-over

Liberty, not legalism, is what the Lord Jesus Christ offers. Freedom, not bondage. Relationship, not religion. We give up nothing for which Jesus will not abundantly offer more than we could ever hope or dream.

-Adrian Rogers

It is not very often in life that we are given a do-over.  A second chance to get it right. When we do get a second chance, it is definitely a beautiful thing. 

I have been pondering that notion for some time now. How exactly does the idea of a second chance fair in the minds of those who follow a religion instead of Jesus.  What does that look like?

Back when my marriage woes became obvious and it was crystal clear that I was headed into the disaster of divorce I heard repeatedly that once you are divorced you are no longer in God’s care or under His blessing.  I was also numerously quoted that verse found in the Old Testament that says

“For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,[a]” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”

                                                                       Malachi 2:16

I remember being terrified at that notion.  I remember thinking that this predicament that I found myself in was not one that I chose.  It is not one that I wanted.  Divorce was the last thing I had imagined for my family.  Would God really “kick me to the curb” because I was divorced?  Would He seriously abandon me in my darkest days?

Oh, the joys of legalism and the way it leads people astray.  For some this kind of teaching could have led them straight down a path away from God.  Honestly, I had my doubts and withdrew myself from church all together for a while but then God got a hold of me in a fierce way.

The next bit is only my two cents.  However, because I have walked down the path of divorce and walked it with God by my side, I feel a tad bit qualified to speak my opinion on the matter.  Here it is!!  God does in fact hate divorce.  It most definitely breaks His heart.  Of this, I am confident.  However, He does not turn away His children and stop blessing them. That is a lie told by religious men.  And shame on those who would use God’s word to manipulate those who are hurting.  After walking the road of divorce, I am confident that God hates what it does to the people involved.  The heartache, the destruction, the negative picture it paints of His love, grace, and everything else horrific that comes with divorce.  I hate divorce!  It was the worst thing I have ever experienced in my entire life.  I would not wish it on my worst enemy.  Ever!  I believe the same to be true of God.  There is no way He wants any of His children to have to endure the pain of divorce.  Especially alone.  There is no way He wants His gospel trampled on by those going through divorce.  I believe He does hate divorce but does not hate the person going through divorce.

That being said divorce does happen.  Whether we choose it or not it happens.  I did not file the paper work.  I did not ask for it to be processed but it was and nothing I could do would stop it.  Does that mean God no longer wants me?  Does that me I am no longer useable by Him.  According to some, the answer is yes. According to God, the answer is a huge resounding no! Nothing can separate a child of God from the love of God. 

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

                                            Romans 8:38-39

Now I am someone who can usually see the good and bad in everything.  There are always two sides.  It is a helpful way to view life.  So because of my glass half full attitude I can also say that my divorce is also one of the best things that ever happened to me.   I know that may sound crazy.  You’re probably thinking this chick has fallen off her rocker especially if you witnessed any of what took place over the last few years. I am totally serious though.  The heartache and pain my divorce caused left me with more than I could have ever dreamed possible!  It caused me to search after God.  To run after Him in total surrender.  It brought me to a new place in Christ.  It brought me to a place where I finally understood His grace and His love for me.  It taught me the difference between religion and relationship.  It taught me faith and trust in the One who holds my entire world in His hands.  Just because I was going through divorce, God did not leave me.  Not once.  In fact, I felt Him more in my life during that time than ever before and it was amazing.  He never left my side.  Yes, there were plenty of dark and painful days but He was my comfort and my strength!  It was only because of Him that I made it through the darkest period in my life.  Only because of Him!  

I have many regrets in my life.  A LOT! We all have regrets.  There are many things we would choose to do differently if given the opportunity.  Unfortunately, some things just can’t be undone. Thankfully, because of Christ and His work on the cross we can have a second chance.   We can have a new beginning.  We can have more than we ever dreamed possible!