This is the final article in a series on divorce and remarriage.
A few years ago, I was asked to speak to a group of singles in Southern California. Ironically, the topic was, Broken—yet Unbreakable: rebuilding after brokenness. In prayerful preparation for this message, I isolated seven ways to rebuild based on the story of Nehemiah found in the Old Testament.
The story picks up with Nehemiah being in anguish after receiving a report of the spiritual and physical destruction that existed in Jerusalem. Upon hearing of Nehemiah’s distress, the foreign king appoints him governor and gives him the authority to return to his homeland and rebuild the walls. Here are the final points
Hold it in your heart: This step refers mainly to those who are in the critical restoration and rebuilding stages of a marriage. Nehemiah 2:12 states, “Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do…” When God places something in your heart, its best not to run and tell everyone, simply ponder it in your heart. If you’re sensing restoration, at times, it’s best not to share it with your ex-spouse just yet.
A true story I heard involved a wife who left her husband. During the separation, he called her nearly every day, sent dozens of flowers, and wrote letters every week telling her how God was going to restore their marriage. After nearly a year, his wife filed for divorce and moved away. When asked if she considered reconciliation, she stated that she considered it many times, but because of his constant pressure for restoration, she felt stifled and inclined to move farther away. Dr. Dobson’s book, Love Must Be Tough, refers to this as opening the cage door.
When a spouse who feels smothered or fenced in wants to leave (or has left), it’s wise to open the cage door and release him or her. Although not true of every situation, time away allows them to miss home and their marriage, and reconciliation may then become an option. The husband previously mentioned actually contributed to his wife’s decision to leave by never opening the cage door. Don’t be a “Velcro Man” (or woman) in a relationship, a marriage, or attempting to restore one—use wisdom and patience.
Expect opposition: As you begin to rebuild and restore your life expect opposition. Nehemiah 2:19 says, “…they laughed at us and despised us…” The enemy will oppose us any way he can. He’ll send pessimistic people in to our lives and/or fill our minds with negative thoughts in an attempt to distract us from reaching our goal. Those trying to rebuild a marriage may be taunted by the thought, “It’s useless—why try?” Those trying to rebuild a broken past may often hear, “I’ve done too much damage—why try?” The enemy emphasizes the negative and attempts to conceal the positive. But Nehemiah responded in verse 20, “…the God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build…” Nehemiah understood that God Himself would oversee the building project regardless of what others said or past destruction.
Once Nehemiah overcame his critics, his opposition became even greater. Nehemiah 4:2, 3 and 8 states “…What are these feeble Jews doing…‘Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall’…and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion.” Nehemiah’s opposition increased as he continued to obey God, but he understood that if God was for him no one could stand against him. Likewise, God is greater than the problem you’re facing. The key is to focus on what He can and will do in your life even though no evidence is seen. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith believes God’s promises before they happen. Simply stay focused on the goal not the challenge.
As you rebuild, I encourage you to wait on the Lord, obey His word, seek guidance through counsel and allow God to work in your life. Ask, trust, and move forward. God’s lead is usually not as direct as we’d like; however, it is certain.