Today's Pondering: Tough Choices and God's Expectations

But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.~James 1:6

Too often we get stuck in what we believe people expect from us. We forget that it is really the voice of God we should be listening for. Recently, I separated from my husband. After quite a long period of wrestling with what other people thought I should and shouldn’t do and with what I thought I was hearing God tell me to do, I made the decision and walked away from an eleven year relationship. It wasn’t easy and I’m sure that many people out there who mean well will remind me that God frowns on divorce and that He would want my husband and I to reconcile. My answer to these people is that I am fully aware of what God frowns upon and that it was, in fact, a decision made as I walked very closely with God. I believe that He helped me make this decision, no matter how much it appears to be a very woman-made choice.

Year after year, things got worse between my husband and I.  After a while, it was very clear to me that the problems that existed in my marriage were not going away.  I reached out to God and I followed what He was telling me to do.  My husband and I went through so much awful stuff together and as I look back on it, God was there.  He was very much present and helping me to see that it just wasn’t going to work.  I just wasn’t listening to Him at that point.  I’ve talked about the situation with lots of people who are church-going Christians  and their answer is always the same; “I’ll pray for you and your husband to reconcile.”  Of course, in irritation, I ask myself, “Does everyone think that I haven’t prayed for the same thing all these years?”  But I realize that people can only work with the information they have.  They hear that I am going through this and their first inclination is to pray for what they would consider to be a remedy to the whole situation.  They aren’t privy to the knowledge that I have about why I made the decision to leave in the first place and are only thinking in terms of trying to heal what is perceived to be the cause of this recent wound and I appreciate that.  I fully appreciate friends who only want to see me happy, but I don’t pretend that they know what is better for me than God does. 

And so, I’ve set out to follow what I believe God wants me to follow.  It is painful to watch a part of your life fade away.  It is difficult to know that the person you once thought you were really wasn’t you at all and to know that if you had been paying attention to God, you would have changed course a long time ago.  Sometimes it takes us a while to figure that out.  What I thought was a good life was simply a different life than what I’d lived up to that point.  Until I began really thinking about how God wants to use me in this life, I was content to be bogged down with things that kept me in a constant state of worry and sadness.  Now that I’m finally listening to Him, I’m not willing to accept that fate any longer.  It was hard for me to believe that part of what God wants for me included leaving my husband, but sometimes we are commanded to do things that don’t make sense to us at the time.   We just know that we must go forward no matter how much it hurts. 

It is important that we always acknowledge the hand of God in our circumstances.  All things happen as God intends and though some people think they have it all figured out, they will find, in time that they really didn’t see the big picture as clearly as they once thought they did.  As stated in an article about the Book of Esther on, “God is the sovereign Ruler of the universe and we can be assured that His plans will not be moved by the actions of mere evil men.”  We must have faith in His plan for us and we must be willing to sometimes make unpopular choices in order to stay on His path.