by Amy Allen
from "A Redeemed Marriage"
(Fifth in Amy's series on sexual addiction)
Have you ever heard someone say, “You'd better slow down, take a break, stop doing so much or you're going to get sick?” What happened when you ignored their advice? Just as our bodies have built in mechanisms which force us to slow down and take it easy, I believe God gives us warning signs when He wants us to slow down and spend more time with Him. I also believe He can use our circumstances, especially the most difficult ones, to get our attention.
I like this quote by C.S. Lewis, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”. I don't know about you, but God had to shout to get my attention. It happened when my marriage fell apart and I filed for divorce. Up until then, life was pretty good. I had a good relationship with God, or so I thought. We spent time together in the morning as I read my devotion for the day my “quick fix” before the busyness of life began. I had no idea that God was not satisfied with our superficial relationship.
Through the demise of my marriage, God woke me up to what I didn't even notice I was missing. Shortly after I left my husband, Tim, God gave me an amazing opportunity to join a women's Bible study aptly entitled, “Keeping Your Focus When Your Dreams Have Been Shattered.” Tears blurred the letters as I stared at the bulletin that Sunday in church. It may have well said, “Dear Amy, This study is for you! Love, God.” You can bet I was there that Wednesday when it started. I remember asking the leader, “What am I supposed to do now?” Very wisely she said God would show me.
That very day I promised God that I would faithfully do that study, fully trusting He would have an answer for me by the end. I eagerly examined the life of Joseph: his brothers had sold him into slavery and he lived as a captive for 13 years. He could have been filled with bitterness and rage by the time he saw his brothers again, but instead he was full of compassion and forgiveness; able to see everything from God's perspective. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
During the study God corrected my bad theology and for the first time, at age 29, I understood that God allows trials in our lives in order to bring us closer to Him and to accomplish His purposes. He showed me so many other important truths as well. By the end He made it clear that my husband and I were to reconcile.
Having learned so much from that one study, I wanted more! When I moved back with Tim, I looked for more Precept Bible studies. I devoured the book of John that next year, then Romans, then James, then on to Daniel when we lived in Thailand. Since no one was leading a Precept study there, I started my own with women from all over the world. My hunger for God's Word was changing my life. Continually God revealed truth, then prompted me to apply it to my life. Wanting to be obedient, I would ask Him to give me the strength to do what at times seemed impossible.
I learned that there are no short cuts to fixing a marriage. It takes time, effort and plenty of STUDY (Structured Time, Undivided Discipline and Yearning) of God's Word. Not just a “quick fix” in the morning, but true, devoted study as well as time spent just talking with God. Anything worth having is worth investing in. I can assure you from personal experience that investing in your relationship with God is never wasted time! The most important thing is that you dig deep into the Word of God; not other people's interpretations of it, but the truths that are revealed by God's Holy Spirit through Scripture. It takes time, effort and discipline but is so worth it.
Don't ask God for a band-aid when He longs to give you the cure for your broken heart. Don't cheat yourself or God out of the deep, fulfilling relationship He longs to have with you.
“Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” ~ Psalm 119:24
Father, I pray for the person reading this right now. Give them a hunger for your Word, teach them Your ways, and give them the strength to apply Your truth to their lives. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Links in this Series by Amy Allen:
First: When You First Discover Infidelity
Second: How to Find Strength When Your Husband is Weak
Third: Your Cheating Spouse: You Can't Fix Them, Spy On Them, Or Force Them to Stop
Fourth: How to Find Trust After the Affair
Fifth: No Quick Fixes for a Crumbling Marriage
Sixth: Finding Your True Worth When You've Been Betrayed
Seventh: Are You Enabling Your Spouse's Sin?
Eighth: The Best Tool for Restoring Relationships
Ninth: How to Build Teamwork in a Restored Marriage
Tenth: Restoring the Sexual Relationship in a Marriage
About Author, Amy Allen: When my husband's internet pornography addiction led to an affair, then acting out with prostitutes, I filed for divorce. But God used what seemed hopeless to bring us both into a real relationship with Jesus. He also redeemed our marriage. You can watch our testimony on The 700 Club(www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx) or visit our website athttp://www.aredeemedmarriage.com/. There truly is hope and healing for your marriage when you allow Jesus to redeem it! Tim and Amy Allen