By Jen Grice, Crosswalk.com
It is so easy to say we trust God in all things and situations.
We know we’re supposed to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and not depend on your own understanding” as stated in Proverbs 3:5. But life doesn’t always go as planned. We face many trials and dark, uncertain times.
Especially when a spouse leaves and refuses to come back. When you’re forced to be the sole provider and main caregiver for your children. And when your entire world falls apart; you don’t know what is going to happen next.
This is when doubt moves. This is when the devil whispers, did God really say He was going to take care of you? Can you really trust Him with your future?
Uncertainty about the future is a very real concern for many during and after their divorce. What will life look like when walking this path alone, without the spouse you expected to spend the rest of your life with?
We often wonder, where is God when all of this is going on. And why is He allowing my partner to leave and/or sin against me?
Many times in the Bible we read about the lives of others who were living with uncertainty. In my newest book, Your Restoration Journey, an 8-week Bible study for divorced women, I share the stories of many of my favorite Bible characters who also faced mistrust about their future but managed to push through as their restoration story unfolded.
God wants to give you your restoration story as well!
Where Is God When Your Marriage Falls Apart?
The story of the Israelites in the desert was one example I shared for when we wonder where God is when faced with leaving an abusive marriage and walking the path during and after divorce.
We want Him to come to the rescue and give us our old life back (to the happier times in our marriage) but that’s not always part of His plan.
For the Israelites, He had something much better planned. They only needed to get through this difficult journey to inherit the divine promise. But they wanted to go back to the land and the life they had known in Egypt.
The uncertainty and dependence on God for everything were just too much, that’s why they grumbled.
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” – Nahum 1:7
Even while the Israelites struggled, God sent a constant reminder of His presence, in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night (Exodus 13:21).
The Hebrew phrase ananei hakavod (pronounced: ah-nah-A-hak-a-vard) means divine cloud or Cloud of Glory. God was in the clouds guiding and protecting. He is close to His children both day and night; they find His refuge there in the clouds.
So when you wonder where is God in my situation, just look up! He’s right there watching over you. And when things seem very dark, remember He keeps you secure under His wing (Psalm 91:4).
Can I Trust God When I Feel So Much Doubt and Uncertainty?
I wrote this Bible study to help people of faith understand that they can stop searching for how to obtain their faith and just learn to accept it as a free gift (Ephesians 2:8).
What is faith? Faith is defined as “a complete trust or confidence in someone or something; a strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than truth.”
In the seven years since my divorce, I talked to countless women who said they feel they have lost their faith during the divorce trial or after.
They explained they could no longer open their Bible without their eyes being filled with tears and hearts filling with doubt and fear about all they were experiencing. They feel as though God’s Word no longer applies to them.
That is a lie from the enemy to persuade you to walk away from God and your faith (trusting in God).
The truth is faith can be present at the same time as doubt. You are free to struggle!
God still loves the doubter.
Job knew both pain and uncertainty. He even argued with God. He felt uncertain about the future and why he was experiencing this destruction in his life while remembering that God is in control. He even worshipped God in his grief (Job 1:20) showing God that he had hope and faith even in his anger and resentment.
Instead of seeing faith as a byproduct of the life you always wanted, understand that it’s the practice of accepting hope when all you feel is despair about your circumstances. Jesus is the divine persuasion to believe in something better in this world.
Something better is coming. It is the truth about His promises. You only have to believe. There is nothing you can do to work for it; only accept it.
And when Jesus left this earth to ascend into heaven, He left you an Advocate who is walking with you now (John 14:16-17). The Holy Spirit helps remind you of essential truths about God’s character. He keeps His promises, even to divorced people.
Through listening to your Internal Guide you understand that no matter what happens or where you go, God is always with you on the journey. He goes before you, is above you watching over you with a protective eye, and inside you directing your paths.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Sigital Skillet
Why Do You Have to Experience This Pain of Divorce?
It can be very hard to see any benefit coming from the painful experience of divorce. Why would God allow this to happen, especially to you?
There is no simple answer to this question, as Job found out when he asked God (Job 7:20). But we can look at the rest of God’s Word for the understanding of what kind of outcome God is guiding us towards.
Joni Eareckson Tada, in her book The God I love, says, “God allows what he hates to accomplish what he loves.”
He doesn’t love divorce. He actually hates what it does to innocent victims. It is violence against the one who should have been protected (Malachi 2:16). But He allows it for your protection and to strengthen your faith in Him.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
“For we live by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Corinthians 5:7
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Throughout the Scriptures, we read to not worry, be anxious, or have fear about the future.
God will lift you up and strengthen you as you endure. He is your constant Helper. He just asks you to seek Him in prayer and petition; He wants to keep you close.
He promises to work things out for good. And He will see you through everything and give you hope and a future.
You Are Accepted, Not Rejected
One of the main reasons divorced people struggle with their faith after divorce is because they feel unloved and no longer accepted by God. Rejection may be a human reaction to divorce (I too have been shunned), but it’s not God’s response.
God accepts and loves divorced people.
Jesus, being God’s character personified, showed us through His encounterings with hurting, oppressed, destitute, and even sinful people that He didn’t condemn them. He just showed them His great compassion and lovingkindness.
When people cry out to Him, no matter the reason, He sees them and hears their cry.
Not only does Jesus know the pain of being rejected here on earth but so have several women in the Bible, that I affectionately call “Women of Fearless Faith.” In my book, I talk about five prominent women who remind me that I too can step out in faith and trust God for everything from my basic needs to my heart’s desire, and even in times of trials.
It’s so hard to pick a favorite, but Hagar, Abraham’s second wife and mother of his firstborn son is a notable mention.
She was a slave with a name that meant “resident alien.” After being impregnated, and abused by her masters, she thought surviving alone in a desert would be easier than staying in that family. It was in the desert that she met God and gave Him the name, “the God who sees (or looks after) me.”
This is such a great reminder that no matter what you’re facing now, or after divorce, God sees you, the abuse you have endured, the needs you have, and accepts you right where you are.
You don’t need to clean yourself up for Him or be married again to gain His acceptance. He walks with you when you are at your lowest point. He hears your cry and comes to your rescue, just as He did the alien slave girl, Hagar.
It is through this uncertain time, walking with God and getting your needs met, that your faith becomes stronger.
With a deeply rooted, strong faith, you will be able to weather any storm that comes your way. Then, you’ll be free to share that same comfort and acceptance you felt from God, with other hurting and destitute people.
You will thrive and shine! This is the restoration journey after divorce.
Parts of this article where taken from Jen’s book, Your Restoration Journey: Rediscovering Your Faith & Yourself After Divorce, published by Surviving + Thriving Ministries, LLC, used with permission.
Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Ismael Sanchez
Jen Grice is a divorce coach and the author of “You Can Survive Divorce”. She empowers Christian women to not only survive their unwanted divorce, caused by abuse, adultery, and/or narcissism, but to become stronger and thrive after. Jen Grice can be found on YouTube, talking about divorcing a narcissist. Or you can find out more about Jen’s books, coaching for women, and ministry at JenGrice.com.