by Melissa Main
“He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”– Psalm 40:2.
The decision to parent as a single mother can rip out hearts and pummel the faith of Christian women. After years or months of praying for God to reconcile a marriage, facing the death of a marriage often catapults women into a period of intense grieving and questioning of God. They may ponder questions such as: Why didn’t God save my marriage? Why did my husband leave me for someone else? Why wouldn’t he repent? Why didn’t he want me anymore?
The intense agony, the bitter tears, the judgmental looks, the cries of children for their father all weigh heavily upon an already wounded heart. I know because I have been there. When my ex-husband told me that he had gotten someone pregnant, I felt as though I had been poisoned. Strangely, the love for my ex-husband did not die quickly. It was a slow, excruciating death. My heart lingered on in desperate prayer, clinging to the hope that some miracle would arrive to save my family. Some antidote would be sent by God Himself because my children desperately needed their father. Yet, the miracle of reconciliation for my marriage never came. (Yes, God can and does heal marriages when people are willing to repent, but God does not force people to obey Him or to repent.) My ex-husband refused to love me. The love that I longed for was not going to come from the father of my children.
This love that I so desperately needed came from a God who was well acquainted with suffering. Isaiah 53:5 tells us that Jesus was “pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities.” God’s ability to empathize with my sorrow became very clear to me when I read the following passage from John Stott’s book, Why I Am A Christian:
“The crucified one is the God for me! He laid aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us, dying in our place in order that we might be forgiven. Our sufferings become more manageable in light of his. There is still a question mark against human suffering, but over it we boldly stamp another mark, the cross, which symbolizes divine suffering.” (p.63)
When I read and understood these words, I thanked God for understanding my pain, for loving me enough to suffer for me.
Jesus was forsaken by His closest friends. He understood how broken I was when I was deserted. He held me close during my time of sorrow. I was not alone. God was closer to me during that time than any other in my life. I could almost physically feel His presence. Whenever I started to panic because of the intensity of the emotional pain I was suffering, I began to pray. Soon I would feel His presence and know that I was loved and not forsaken.
Praying and reading my Bible, along with other Christian books, helped to mend my broken heart. In order to help my children, I read the Bible with them and prayed with them. I also took them to see godly counselors who had experience working with hurting families.
Sometimes I grew fearful of facing life as a single mom. God directed me to read the first chapter of Joshua. Key points that spoke to me and comforted me included verses 5 and 6. “I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous.” When I wondered about how to make good decisions, He reminded me of verse 7 “Above all, be strong and courageous to carefully observe the instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you will have success wherever you go.” I knew that if I based my decisions on God’s word, then I would prosper. God assured me that I did not need to fear the future as long as I read the Bible and obeyed it. He would guide me and direct me along the path of life. He would be responsible for leading my family.
He was, and is, the lover of my soul. He hid my children under the shadow of His wings and showered His love on us. God did not keep us from disaster, but He brought about a healing and joy that I thought would never be possible.
Today, I am happier than I have ever been. God took my worst heartache and transformed my life into something that brings Him even more glory and praise. God does not always save us from tragedy, but He does hold us close and shower us with His love and blessings. When I look back on my life, I see that God had a good plan in store for me. I could not imagine how anything good could ever come from such a painful wound, but it did. Just as God blessed Job after his time of testing, God has also blessed me. Instead of husband who was never satisfied or pleased with me, I now have a husband who delights in me. The hope that I had in Psalm 27:13 has now become a reality. I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Yes, indeed, I have seen the goodness of the Lord.