Destruction was all around us! What happened? We were so in love when we married. We had taken communion together before the Lord and 200 witnesses at our wedding. We had vowed to love and cherish each other as long as we lived. We were now yelling at each other, disrespecting the other and calling them names. It looked, sounded and felt like hatred. Our home had become a battlefield with bodies lying wounded or dying. The most vulnerable and innocent victims were our children. The doors and walls of our dwelling were no longer a source of strength and protection; they had been broken down by pride and self-centeredness. The Lord’s presence seemed to have left us to our own miserable choices and it looked as if there could be no resurrection, redemption or rescue. The flood of the enemy left nothing of value we could hope to recover.
I had attended church all my life and believed God existed, but I never asked Jesus into my heart to be Savior and Lord. I had religion and pride, but lacked relationship with God. Why should anyone have to die for my sins? After all, I had tried to be a “good girl” all my life. I wasn’t evil and even though I may have some faults, over all, I was a good person. I could not understand the Bible and I wasn’t even sure if I believed in a “Virgin Birth” or being raised from the dead. It seemed strange and incomprehensible. I always thought of God as distant, and angry with me.
Observing church people I had known all my life did not prove a great testimony to the Christian faith. Many never changed in demeanor over the years I was with them. Gossips kept gossiping, trouble-makers continued making trouble and complainers never ceased their complaining. There were a few that seemed different but they looked like fanatics compared to the others. I was not sure I wanted to identify with them either. They took their faith too far, I thought.
Two years before our marriage crisis, I realized I had no idea what I believed. I felt sure God existed but I did not know what it meant to be a Christian. If God was not real, I could reclaim my Sundays and do something more fun than going to Sunday school and church. If He was real, I wanted to know Him. I needed evidence for myself. At the time, my “faith” certainly was not based on knowledge or experience and it produced no fruit. I found no confirmation I had a life-changing encounter with God.
The flood waters had already begun to rise by the time I joined a Bible study group. It was time consuming and I was expected to do homework each week. At first, I did not know what I was doing, but as time passed, scriptures in the Bible began to touch my heart. God was speaking to me through the scriptures although I didn’t really know Him or His Word.
I was angry and hopeless but I began to find a little comfort in my Bible classes. My marriage seemed over. Our arguments were frequent and they were toxic. They were filled with blame and name calling which choked the life out of us. The gleam that had once been in our eyes faded to a blank stare. We were existing only; two people under the same roof but we no longer liked each other. One night, in a swell of hopelessness, my husband walked out. One of us had to, we certainly could not go on as we were. I felt as if my breath had been sucked out of my lungs. I had not esteemed him, honored him or even liked him for a long time, but I stood there wondering, “Is this it? Is it all over?” Seemingly accepting the “fate” I helped create, I began to cry inconsolably.
After wallowing in self-pity for a while, a thought came to me. I considered the possibility that all the Bible stories of Jesus coming to the aid of people who were desperate, just might be true. Studying in Genesis about the God Who sees our trouble and distress left me wondering if it was all true. A glimmer of hope welled up in my heart. At that moment, I realized I was feeling intense rejection from my husband, and that was what the Lord felt all those years I had rejected Him! My tears turned from myself to empathizing with the rejection He felt from me and countless others. In that heartfelt moment I switched from unbelief to faith in my Savior. He did not condemn me, He loved me. I knew He was real.
I had no idea if my marriage could be healed or not, but I decided to put all my trust for my family’s future into His hands. As I prayed, an intense feeling of peace and well-being flooded me and I heard the voice of the Lord for the first time. He said to me, “I want to restore your marriage.” With the word He spoke to me, faith was deposited into my hardened heart and God began to heal and restore me while he also changed my husband.
My husband returned home, at my request, two days later and God’s miracle began to manifest. It took years of hard work, but we learned to love and cherish each other again, and eventually the joy in our relationship returned. I learned a very important lesson: love will not last unless it is nurtured and protected, but love can be restored. Restoring love requires both parties to be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to re-invest in their marriage partner and family. Pride is always at the center of every ugly disagreement. When one is willing to lay down their pride and listen attentively to the other’s perspective, peace will pervade and honor and love will follow. We realized we were not each other’s enemy, pride was the enemy. When we humbled ourselves before God and each other, there was no longer a place for pride to dwell.
The flood came at our 11th year of marriage. That was 35 years ago. This summer we will celebrate our 47th wedding anniversary! We have two wonderful children from our marriage and two more who married into our family. We also have 5 awesome grandchildren. Our marriage, family and lives are a testimony to the truth of the Gospel and the goodness and faithfulness of God.
“So shall they fear The name of the LORD from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him. The Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, Says the LORD.”
I have faith that every situation that seems to be a lost hope, can be healed and restored. I have personally experienced the Lord transform our hardened hearts into tender hearts full of compassion for others. I have seen Him turn prideful, self-seeking hearts into humbled and generous ones. I have seen rebellious hearts become righteous, because Jesus bore the penalty of our sins. I have seen a marriage that had been proclaimed dead, raised up in new life. I have seen love restored even greater than I could have ever imagined.
There is absolutely nothing too difficult for God. There is no one too tough for God to humble and no one too far gone, that God can’t reclaim! There is no situation too broken that God can’t restore. Whether it is a person, a family or a nation, when the people turn back to God, miracles happen.
Sin divides because it is prideful and self-centered. It creates distrust and causes division. Sin is fed by accusations which tear down. Love encourages and builds a bridge of unity. Love is not prejudiced, unkind or haughty. Love forgives. Sin multiplies sorrows while love establishes joy. Sin is rebellion that God calls witchcraft. Love is humility and God calls it righteous. Sin is self-serving but love serves the Lord and others. Love is the highest call of God and it costs the most to give, but there is no law to which God’s love can be compared. Love cannot lie. Love’s foundation is truth, therefore love cannot condone sin or overlook it. Love covers sin by speaking truth, encouraging others in righteousness, and refusing to judge one as hopeless. Sin creates barriers; love removes them. Sin is weak but love is strong. Sin does not value others, love considers others as equal in value or of greater value than oneself.
There is no rift the Lord cannot heal unless those involved refuse to humble themselves, repent of their sin and choose to love God and others. Pride will distance one from the Lord’s protection and restoring power, but humility and repentance opens the door for healing and transformation.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flames scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:2-3a, NKJV.
It does not matter how deep the flood waters rise, what matters is the depth of repentance. When the enemy comes into our lives with a flood of destruction, we must allow the Lord to raise us up to His standard of living and being. Only then will we see His miracle working, resurrection power in our lives.