There have been so many times throughout my divorce where I have been hurt by my husband’s behaviour. He turned his back on me so quickly, after all the years together there was no respect, loyalty or care in any of his actions. He turned his back on everything, his vows to me, to our marriage, even his faith.
In terms of our faith, I understood, in our married lives, we both had a journey that we were on, together and as individuals. His faith was his alone and his walk with God was personal to him. We both saw Jesus as our friend and father and never put any pressure on each other to be ‘perfect.’ We encouraged each other and saw God’s tremendous love at work in our lives, so it was a shock to hear him say that he didn’t want any of ‘that’ in his life anymore. I found this really sad to hear.
God had always been at the centre of our marriage, so I prayed and prayed for it to be saved and I prayed just as hard for my husband not to turn away from his faith. I didn’t want that for him. Even though I hate what he has put me through, I still hope that he will take his relationship with Jesus with him.
I know that God never leaves or abandons us but sometimes people leave and abandon Him. I started praying every day for God to speak with my husband, for him to have an encounter. I felt that amongst all of my own devastation, I had this pressure to take responsibility for his faith too.
As time went on, my husband’s behaviour became more hurtful towards me and even more cruel. I realised that I needed to protect myself, spiritually. I was finding it difficult praying for my own strength to deal with the hurt my husband was causing while also praying for his walk with God. I felt God telling me that I needed to surrender. I asked myself, what does it mean to surrender? To me, it meant to hand over.
This is easier said than done. Often the things that are most precious to us are the hardest things to let go of. In me holding onto all the responsibility for my husband’s faith, I was failing to understand the fierce love that God has for every one of us. My husband was so precious to me but he was even more precious to God.
One day, when I was reading my bible, I came across the parable of the lost sheep. Matthew 18:12 says, “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?”
This spoke into my situation in so many ways. If God is our shepherd, then we are His flock. How fierce and reckless is God’s love for each of us that he would leave those ninety-nine sheep, for the one that goes astray. This reflects beautifully the value He sees in each of us. He would risk everything for us, just to bring us back to Him when we are lost.
I felt this sudden reassurance enter my heart that God had been and would continue to, pursue my husband out of love for him. He wasn’t going to give up on him because my husband is His child too. It gave me what I needed to be able to hand my husband over to God and focus on my faith during what was such a difficult time. I hope my husband won’t abandon his faith but we are all blessed with free will. I do take comfort in knowing that Jesus will be waiting for him to open the door again.
If like me, you are struggling with this at this time, please don’t feel that you have to take on the burden of having responsibility for your partner’s relationship with God.
Take peace in knowing that you can surrender and hand this over to God. He never gives up on any of us.