We live in a day and age where the term “irreconcilable differences” is applied to unfolded laundry, an introverted personality that isn't willing to live the lifestyle their spouse desires, or at times something as simple and selfish as who gets to park in the garage. Sometimes it's just pure laziness and a refusal to put forth effort when all the honeymoon emotions wear off. It could be a legitimate hurt, a very real offence that “because of the hardness of your heart” the situation has become irreconcilable. If a couple were married for 45 years and one of them developed Alzheimers or dementia and no longer recognized their spouse, no longer recognized the marriage, does this make them not husband and wife? Does this justify the parting of ways “just leave him in a nursing home because he won’t know any difference?” Or “no one would fault you if you left her. You can't expect to endure what this situation is asking you to endure.” Some reading this may find the simple thought of this to be absolutely appalling! Some of you may be in the middle of this very situation questioning if you will be able to endure the path God has placed you on, wondering if God really knows what he is doing by asking such things of you.
“Until DEATH do us part.” I am not sure that I would ever expect the miraculous story of Israel crossing the Jordan River would lead me to a message on faithfulness to wedding vows, but it has done just that. A lot of us have likely heard the story in Joshua 3 where the Jordan River was in flood stage, nearly to the point of no longer being contained by its banks. To say the circumstances were less than desirable would be a great understatement. To say God was being perfectly reasonable with His instructions that they were to cross this river would likely not be the conclusion made by those He was instructing to do so. For anyone that would have been on the outside looking in, never experiencing all Israel had previously experienced with their God, it would seem absolutely absurd. “No one really expects you to go through with this. This was not part of the original plan. No one would fault you if you went your own way over this one.”
For those of you reading this who may not know, I am in what most would consider an unconventional marriage. Nearly two years ago, after the strains of seven years of me actively participating in addiction, acts of infidelity by both my wife and myself, and it all coming to a head when I lost my job in December of 2019, my wife and I separated. I entered into a 12-month intensive Christ-centered recovery program. Three months into my residency in the program, she asked for a divorce and we rarely spoke. We would not see our family in the same room for 10 months, and we would not be living under the same roof for just over 18 months. We sleep in separate rooms and due to God's design for physical affection and sexual relationships being corrupted in both of our lives through ungodly relationships, and a significant porn addiction on my part, there is still work being done by God in both of us as individuals and as a couple. As a result there is very little physical affection shared between the two of us. The divorce was never filed, but to be honest there are many conversations as to if that is or is not what needs to happen. For the two of us, there are a lot of details which have not been disclosed to us yet by God as to what this healing process will look like. We both are pursuing Him and His will in our life. Although there would be some who question this marriage, and why we would continue on in a relationship that doesn't look like what most would require or even expect, there is a commitment to walking in the will of God for our lives. There is a very real and deep longing to do whatever it takes to maintain, and more importantly, build upon the personal relationships we currently have as individuals with our Jesus and refuse to do anything that would hinder or damage that relationship.
So here we are, standing on the banks and as the waters rise but not recede, we trust God. There will be hard obstacles ahead that will continue to seem insurmountable, and differences that, left to our own resources, would be irreconcilable. But praise God, who can reconcile an entire nation to Himself to see them receive the promised land as they walk in faith, can also reconcile my wife and me back to a marriage relationship which would honor Him. Only God can reconcile a sinful world bound for hell to Himself. The righteous and holy God, if given the opportunity by sinful man, is able to reconcile the two of us as we continue to trust him. All because we have come to KNOW Him in a very real way.
Know He is at work, probably more so when it hurts and we have to draw in close to Him.
Know He is faithful to complete the good work He has begun, not only in you, but also in each and every one of those He has called.
Know Jesus and Make Jesus Known