I spent much of this weekend helping my first ex-wife move her and our kids’ things to a new house.
I have no doubt that some people would read that first sentence and shake their heads. “You have TWO ex-wives?? Are you THAT much of a loser?” “You helped your ex move? Have you no self-respect? Are you THAT much of a push-over? You’re supposed to be that woman’s bitter enemy!”
But help I did. And it was surreal and intense and sad and joyful and surprising and so terribly important. Mainly, because it proved to me how incredibly faithful and good Jesus is.
If you search back a few years through this blog, you’ll find a whole mess of posts detailing what I went through when my first wife…a woman I’d been married to for twenty years…decided to leave me. It was a horrible season of life…a chokingly devastating time of feeling broken and lost and without much confidence that I would ever be remotely well again. Every post from that time was true. Life WAS a series of painful moments.
Yet every post from that time was also completely wrong.
I can see that now…now that I’m on the other side of promise. It brings to mind the Israelites wandering in the desert. They grumbled about practically everything! The sun was too hot, the food was too bland, days were soooo much better back when they were slaves in Egypt. We can read those stories now and know how wrong they were. God was patiently leading them to an incredible place of abundance and victory…they just couldn’t see it yet. They had on the blinders of the here and now…and it consumed their vision.
When I was reeling from the devastation of divorce, it was all I could see. I tried calling out to God, and I tried to believe the promise of Scripture and the reassuring things people would tell me, but – honestly – I didn’t. I could only see what was in front of me…what was covering me…what seemed to be drowning me. And that is the place from which I wrote a couple dozen blog posts.
This weekend, I was able to see how far God has brought me…how much healing He has done in my life…how truly, inexplicably patient and loving and generous and good He has been to me. The pain of my divorce wasn’t just my imagination, but it also wasn’t the end of the story. It was a season of being lost in a wilderness of deeply hurtful things…but it was only a season.
The challenge is to remember that when new trials come along. To know deep in my bones that pain will subside, that God’s goodness is forever, and that He is always leading me to something better and closer to Him.
The words of Psalm 30 ring true for me:
I will exalt you, LORD, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O LORD. You kept me from falling into the pit of death.
Sing to the LORD, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning…
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!
Yes, I spent much of this weekend helping my first ex-wife move her and our kids’ things to a new house. But I will spend eternity marveling at the absolute healing and goodness of our Heavenly Father.