Have you ever felt helpless and wondered what you could do to change a situation? I have. I’ll never forget a phone call I received about sixth months into my ministry. It began with the ominous statement, “Cal, I have some difficult news to share with you.” From there, things went downhill. He and his wife were getting a divorce. My heart ached for them.
We live in a broken world. Over the years too many couples have come to me with that same message. As these situations arose, I’ve offered counsel, shared books, spent time listening to both sides and lifted up lot of prayers. Despite my best efforts, too often the end result was still a break-up of the marriage. In the end I usually felt that I had done very little to help.
There is a lot of disappointment that comes in the dissolution of a relationship. There are broken dreams and unfulfilled promises. There is hurt, frustration and anger. Hearts are broken. As I received yet another call recently, I began to realize that the pain that is shouldered by the couples, and the sorrow that I have felt for their situation, is truly shared by God.
I believe God’s heart aches over our failed relationships. God wants us to be happy and to lead joyful lives. He wants us to be empowered and to find true fulfillment in every relationship. When we stumble, when we make poor choices, when we fail, when we lose hope, a tear wells up in the very heart of God.
The truth is that God understands better than any of us how much betrayal can hurt. He knows what it is to love and to have that love rejected. He can appreciate our deep sorrow when hopes and dreams for the future are shattered and hopelessly marred. For God has lived with these things throughout creation and He understands all too well.
God cares. I’ve found that I can do something in these situations. I can pray for the couples. I can pray for reconciliation. I can pray for healing. I can pray that God will be present in their pain and sorrow and lead them through this difficult valley. And so can you! When we pray and turn things over to God, we can be assured that God will be there for them as they work their way through the difficulties.
Do you have friends who are going through a difficult time? You can make a difference in their situation. Be a friend to them. Offer your advice, listen to them and let them know you care. Then begin talking to God. Ask Him, the Mighty Counselor, to step in and minister to them both. Pray that they will feel God’s presence and know that He is with them.
In the end you will have done more for them than you will ever know. And someday they will come back and thank you for your prayers.
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.