Last week my aunt wrote a great blog on how she broke a promise to her sons that she would never divorce their dad. Two decades later she is happily married to another man and her sons wouldn’t have it any other way. Nor would I, her nephew.
Here’s a link if you’d like to read it: http://soberboots.com/2012/03/21/a-promise-i-didnt-keep/
This poses the question, “Can divorce ever be God’s will?”
It’s hard to look at my aunt’s current marital situation and imagine her with anyone else. Growing up I often dreamed of having a love like theirs. Her ex-husband is also remarried and has another child and one more on the way. My own father is in his third marriage, and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the only thing to tear them apart will be death.
Hindsight could easily argue that the pain, toil, and humiliation these God-fearing Christians went through in divorce was part of the Lord’s will to lead them to a happier, healthier life and marriage. But why would God ever want you to get married if it was His will for you to not be with that person? Would a loving God’s plan for your life purposely include tearing you apart from the person you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with?
In Matthew 19 the Pharisees are asking Jesus about divorce. In those days if you’re wife burnt your dinner and pissed you off it was totally acceptable to kick her to the curb. So when Jesus responds by telling them the only valid reason anyone would have for divorce is marital unfaithfulness, he blows their minds. Even the disciples are in shock thinking, Wow. If that’s the level of commitment married people need it’s better to just be single forever.
When I read the Bible I can’t find anywhere that says divorce is God’s will unless one spouse cheats on the other. Even in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 God says if a man rapes a virgin and gets caught he is now obligated to marry her, and “he can never divorce her as long as he lives.” Obviously we aren’t following Levitical law now, otherwise people would be getting killed left and right for their sins. But verses like this, I believe, point to God’s heart of insane commitment in marriage.
Again in Matthew 19, Jesus points to Genesis and the creation of man. We are supposed to leave our parents and be united as one flesh as husband and wife. “Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
From the beginning of the creation of man it has always been God’s will for couples to stay married. His heart breaks for the 51% of marriages that end in divorce, and He wants to help mend them. But so often our hardness of heart (see Matt 19) prevents Him from being able to work.
Those that do choose divorce obviously aren’t doomed to Hell. We serve a loving, and forgiving, and redeeming God, who still wants to mend hearts whether married or divorced. My family is living proof of that, full of broken marriages and redeemed futures. With the Lord, there is always hope, there is always better. When we allow Him to work, our Heavenly Father will create miracles to save our marriages, and miracles to redeem our divorces.
For me, the most amazing proof of a redeemed divorce is my own marriage. If my parents had never divorced my mom would have never moved to Oregon. Then I wouldn’t have moved to Oregon. Which means I wouldn’t have met my youth pastor. Had I not met him I probably wouldn’t have ever moved to California. Even if I did move to California, had I not met him in Oregon I wouldn’t have lived with him and his family in California. If I never lived with that family I wouldn’t have gotten a job at Old Navy. And had I never applied at Old Navy, my (now) wife would never have seen me walk into the store and asked her manager to hire me.
Twelve years later, I see that one wonderful result of my parent’s divorce led to me meet the love of my life. Thank you, God, for how you work.