When we are blind-sided by the trials of life and get the “wind” knocked out of us, it is natural for us to be angry, resentful and wonder WHY did God allow “this” to happen to us. When we suffer because of the actions of another, it adds an additional layer of angst to our circumstance.
I have known many people that have experienced divorce. Some never recovered and it has been over 30 years. Some moved on, but did they really recover? Others, believed that the best way to get over a broken-heart is to find someone new. I have found that the human soul responds in various ways to emotional pain and devastation.
I am soon approaching 7 years since the break-up of my marriage. As I have entered the New Year, it has been a time of reflection and I recall my journey through bitterness.
My divorce left me extremely bitter. Who wants to start over at mid-life? My bitterness had to be processed and at times, God would “reign” me in because continual bitterness leads one to a very dark place in life where eventually, nothing will seem good any more. For this reason, I am ever grateful for my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He was, and is, my constant companion and His Holy Spirit reminded me that it was okay to be angry, but it was NOT okay to allow my anger to lead me into sin (sinful thoughts, words and actions).
Ephesians 4:26 (KJV) – Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
I cannot tell you how many times I violated this commandment. In my weakness, I allowed my bitterness to lead me into sinful thoughts and words against my ex-spouse. Night after night, I nursed my anger and did not seek to resolve it before sun down.
I see the mercy of God. Although I was in violation of His command; He still loved, cared for and provided for my every need. I did not deserve His blessings, but He chose to bless me anyway. Sinful humanity continually stands in need of the mercy of Almighty God.
I cannot recall how long it took me to resolve my bitterness. I use the word “resolve” because it was up to me to do something about my condition. I had to work through my bitterness. Oh how I wished that I would just wake up one day and be whole again! Not so. My bitterness was used as an instrument in the hand of God to show me my own sinfulness, His mercy towards me, and my dependence upon Him to be free of it!
As I would sit and brood on the injustice done to me by my former spouse, God reminded me of Romans 3:23 (KJV) – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;. In other words, “Cathy, you have sinned against me also.” I could sense God saying to me, “What was MY reaction to your sin?” His reaction was to sacrifice His life to redeem me.
Romans 5:6-8 (KJV) – For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
I have often defined mercy as “God bestowing upon us blessings we do not deserve”. I had many bitter days. Yet, on each and every one of them, God preserved my life, provided for my needs, gave me the physical and mental strength to go to work each day and do my job despite my brokenness, and remained my constant companion. He would actually show me “signs” that He was present. For example, one day, I pulled into the church parking lot (a bit late!) and was prepared to drive all the way to the grassy portion of the back of the building to park my car. However, upon entering the lot, one of the brothers stopped me and greeted me. He said “Sister Cathy, I’ll park your car for you so you don’t have to walk all that way and I’ll bring your keys to you.” I was overwhelmed at this undeserved kindness extended to me. I knew God orchestrated this encounter to remind me that I was still “special” to Him. I needed that inspiration that day.
Psalm 103:8 (KJV) – The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
I realized that I could not rid myself of the bitterness that infiltrated my heart. I came to the point that I wanted to be free of it, but it seemed to be so deeply interwoven in the fabric of my being that I was a “slave” to it. The remedy? I continually placed myself in a position to interact with God. I maintained faithful attendance at church to hear Biblical sermons, I attended Bible Study on Wednesdays, I played radio broadcast teaching God’s Word, I listened to worship music that glorified God and I kept company with Christians who were surrendered to the Lord. One other thing, I removed television from my home for 1 year! I had to take RADICAL action to uproot this seed of satan that lodged itself in my heart. I IMMERSED my life in the Lord!
Hebrews 4:12 (CEB) – because God’s word is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates to the point that it separates the soul from the spirit and the joints from the marrow. It’s able to judge the heart’s thoughts and intentions.
My friend, I do not know where you are in your divorce journey. But, if you have not taken the time to address any root of bitterness that my be “lurking” about, please do so. Be honest with yourself and God and if you are struggling to resolve your bitterness, God understands exactly where you are but it is not His plan that you remain there. He wants to deliver and heal you and advance you from bitter to BETTER! If you need His help, you need but simply ask:
Psalm 61:2 (KJV) – From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Until next time, God bless and keep you in His care.
All scripture references taken from biblegateway.com. Images taken from Google Images.