Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest. Psalm 126:5-6
Divorce: A complete or radical severance of closely connected things.
Lately, I've been thinking about divorce. The word. The feeling. The sadness. The permanence. The ache that sometimes never goes away. I've been through many a divorce in my life (only one of those was the dissolution of a marriage). Some I chose, some just happened to me by no choice of my own. All of them hurt like heck.
I once took a class to help me heal after the end of my first marriage. They said the reason that divorce hurts so much is because it's the tearing apart of a bond that is no longer two, but one. It's not two people (or things) splitting apart—it's two people who have become one flesh, ripped in half, rife with gaping tear wounds from top to bottom. It was the perfect description.
So I've been thinking a lot about my divorces lately, still feeling the raw pain of some of them as if they happened yesterday. But in that, I have also remembered the faithfulness of God. After the dissolution of my marriage when I had worked hard to allow God to heal my broken heart, He sent me an amazing life companion and partner. Through this blessing of restoration, I experienced joy many more times over than my former sorrow. Where once I felt alone, abandoned, and rejected, God restored my dreams and gave me comfort, belonging, and unconditional love through His provision of a genuine life partner. I didn't deserve such a blessing, but that's what He did for me.
This week, in the midst of the wounds of life, God has given me a new thought—the embers of hope. It started when I began meditating on my future role as part of the Bride of Jesus. Coincidentally, shortly after this, I began reading a book by Frank Viola, From Eternity to Here: rediscovering the ageless purpose of God. Frank suggests evidence of an unfolding story about God's plan for the ages, revealed in the pages of the Bible. This story begins with the picture provided by the first home with the first Adam, the first marriage, and the offspring of their union which continue to this day. The story behind the story? A Father has a Son, the second Adam. In order to provide an object for His Son to pour out His passion upon, the Father finds a Bride for Him (takes the Bride out of His side, even, just as He did with Adam). Out of this marriage covenant comes a legacy of spiritual children and godly offspring for all time.
All of this really clicked for me this week. I am the betrothed and future bride of Christ! Someday (definitely not here) all of the sadness…all of the "complete or radical severance of closely connected things" will be restored and healed. But in this life, I have been called to give up, to lose, to let go. It is the way of the cross. Like Peter expressed: "We've given up everything to follow you. What will we get out of it?" Mt. 19:27.
And Jesus responds to His Bride, "I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return, a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property – with persecutions. And in the age to come they will have age-enduring life."
I am so ready for that day when all my tears will be wiped away. What a day of joy! But until then, I will not allow myself to be consumed by the pain of loss and divorce in this life. I will keep my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. I will be a faithful betrothed, continuing to prepare myself to be a fit bride for the Lamb. I will leave the rest in His hands.
"Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready." Revelation 19:7