I suppose my prayers this morning are directed at God and heard by God. But my goal has been to have a balanced prayer life. I don't want to spend all or almost all of my hour with God dwelling on the imminent death of my family.
In this case, it isn't a doctor giving the death sentence. The courts say that our family will end in 60 days or less. Oh, there could be minor changes in that, but the reality is only a miracle can save my family.
So, as I try to pray about others and their prayer needs and requests; as I try to pray about my children's futures; as I try to pray for my own needs and thank God for his provision; as I try to pray for strength and His comfort, almost every prayer is tangent to the coming death. So I am distracted back repeatedly to wondering what life saving approach can be tried. Is there a cure? What will be the consequences for individual members of the family? What should I be doing to provide comfort and leadership to each of them?
The impact of a death of a loved one is pretty significant in the lives of those closest to them. But the death of a family has a much greater and longer term impact. Why has our society allowed this scourge to continue? Some in our culture are all worried about global warming, folks without insurance, or whether animals should have lawyers. Most of these who care so much about these questions have been impacted far more by a divorce in their family than they will ever be impacted by even crime or war. When will Western Culture wake up and realize that while they fret about hangnails, the heart is failing.
I suppose with the death so close and so certain, it shouldn't be surprising that today's prayer time is consumed by it. I pray that I can leave it at the alter today, so that tomorrow's prayer time can be more balanced.
Update March 2013The last paragraph says that the death was certain, but in fact the family was put on life support January 7, 2011. The divorce papers were drawn and just needed to be signed. But the Lord decided that this death was to be at least postponed.
Our family continues to struggle for life. But hope burns eternal. God has used the time to teach me a bunch about patience and trusting Him and humility and . . . isn't that enough. Well no. Because even as we have a hard time watching the Hebrews in the OT learn the same lessons over and over, I had to learn old lessons anew the hard way.
There has been a very great infilling of the Holy Spirit taking place in the lives of both my estranged wife and me. Dozens who have prayed have seen their prayers answered in God's time. Now we seek prayer that the new spiritual awaking will find fertile soil and grow into a huge field of fruit.
Are you hurting right now and frustrated with God because he seems to be testing you beyond what you can bear, or because you suspect he is disinterested in your situation. I totally get it. Get over yourself! Sorry, I want to be comforting, and you need some comforting, too. But for the most part there is just a need to recognize that God's perfect plan is operational, and your inability to see it is only spiritual blindness. You may not ever really know why God allowed your current circumstance, but if you are steadfast, He will provide a rich reward.
Update July 27, 2014
It has been almost exactly six years since the beginning of what seemed like the end of a 21 year marriage that had everything: two children from a previous marriage adopted into the new marriage, two new boys added, and even a young man of 16 added when his home life wouldn't allow him to stay with either his father or his mom. It was a home devoted to God. Both of us were active in ministry and in leadership at our church.
The devil couldn't stand the fruit being produced, and he did his worst. But he couldn't prevail when God's people got on their knees.
In January of 2014, we began counseling with an amazing Christian therapist. Both of us made the commitment that it was only a matter of when, not if, we would begin our new life together. After many apologies and just as many agreements to forgive; after getting clear on God's intentions for marriage and the roles that each spouse are to fulfill; after getting understanding that love is not an emotion, but a decision, we renewed our vows on July 27, 2014 in front of the friends and family members who had so diligently prayed for our marriage and our family.
There were many who said of our marriage 6 years ago: "If their marriage can fail, whose can succeed?" Now some of those same friends and family are saying: "If their marriage can be restored, any marriage can be saved!"
I am so excited that we have been given a second chance to leave a legacy of righteousness and an example of God's intention for marriage. In addition to the traditional vows, I make you the following promises:
My promise to you above all others, is that I will seek God’s voice in every aspect of our life together. I believe that it is because we both listened carefully to His intentions that He has blessed us with the miracle of this reunion today.
It is my heart’s intent to love you like no man has ever been loved a woman before, to place your needs ahead of mine, and to serve you in every way. I want to be your team mate, cheering you on from the dugout in every thing you pursue. I want to be your best friend, aware of your every need and mood. And I want to be your number one fan, delighting in every aspect of who you are and what you do.
To accomplish those things I promise to listen to your words AND to hear your heart. I thank God and you for this second chance to be the husband that you deserve.