When God Feels MIA
What should a wife do when everything is falling apart and it feels like God is "missing in action?"
Kathy, we want to talk today about a letter that came in from Jenny. She had a husband who was unrepentant - he had been involved in sexual sin. She asked the question that I'm sure women ask so often, and that is "Where is God in all of this?"
Right. When they've lived with husbands that have been unrepentant for a long time and they've been praying, believing, and holding faith; and nothing's going on, it's hard to feel like God's involved in this thing. This lady, in particular, Jenny that I dealt with, had been twelve years in this marriage and feeling pretty hopeless. But the thing that I want to encourage women to do is not necessarily stay in a marriage just for the sake of staying in a marriage, but there's a bigger picture here. The bigger picture is that God is definitely doing something even when it feels like he has disappeared and abandoned a woman. I could look back on my own experience and the times when I just felt so destitute inside and felt like God was nowhere to be found, that's really when God was closest to me - when things were at the absolute worst and I just didn't think they could get any worse.
So you didn't see that then?
No, I was asking "God where are you? Why aren't you doing something?" But He was doing something. Looking back now, I can see that waiting on God was to my benefit, not just because everything turned how good, but actually in spite of the fact that everything turned good. God was doing something in me that only this experience could produce in me. A lot of women, they're in this thing of "Fix my marriage. I just want a good marriage. I just want my family together I just want to have a normal life" and that is not an unreasonable request.
But that's not really God's priority, is it?
No, it's not. Our happiness is not His priority, but our holiness. Usually, the purification process comes through much suffering, and we don't want to hear that. We don't want to experience any more suffering, especially a wife. I just know it so well. We just want to love our husbands; we want to take care of our homes; we want to raise our children; we want a normal life; but you know, it's just not always going to be that way.
You mentioned that you heard a radio program where a woman was in a similar situation and the advice that she was getting on that program just broke your heart.
Yeah, the host of that radio show basically said to this woman - who is an absolute despair because her marriage was falling apart - "Divorce the jerk and get on with your life. God wants to use you." It's really very upsetting to hear that because my attitude is that God is using you now, right where you are. He's using this marriage - He's using it for you and He's using you in it. When we as women feel like we're being cheated and we're being victimized by our husbands and all we want to do is get out of this relationship and move on to the next one because we just want a happy life, we are missing what God has for us. I just want to encourage women that are listening today, if you're in a situation with your husband and it's ugly and you're full of pain, there is a God who hears your cry - He knows what you're going through and He has not abandoned you; He has not left you behind; He hears the cry of the of the afflicted and He is going to answer, just hang on.
Kathy, in the letter that you responded to Jenny, you mentioned something that might be encouraging to those women who are listening - that God really does understand what it's like to be mistreated.
Yes, He does. He has suffered disobedient children for centuries, and rejection from His own people. God's heart has been broken over and over and over again by our rebellious and stiff necked people. Nothing hurts worse - I imagine - then pouring out your love on your child and giving your child everything you have, and that child gladly taking all that you're offering and then turning around and running off and treating you as though you didn't even exist - and that is very much what we do to God.
It sure is, yeah. Kathy, how important is it, for more of a practical sense, when a woman finds herself in this despairing moment - when she feels like her prayers are bouncing off the sky and feeling "Where is God?" - for her to get away from her situation and really seek the heart of God?
I often encourage women to do that because when you're in a situation like this you can't see the forest for the trees and it's very cloudy in there, the sun doesn't come up very often, and it's hard to see. I often will encourage women to take a few days off of work, go find a hotel or go stay with a friend - just get out of that situation - for a number of days and seek the Lord, really seek the Lord. When you're in it, it's hard to navigate your way through, but when you step out of the situation, the clouds begin to lift. It's easier to hear from the Lord when you're away from the situation, so it's a good idea to do that if they can.
Amen. It is, of course, the Lord that has the answer it. Kathy Gallagher, thanks so much.
Thank you, Mike.
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