A couple days ago, I read an awesome blog that had this quote in it:
"In my deepest wound I saw Your glory and it dazzled me." St. Augustine, Confessions
It starting me thinking about my wounds. Specifically, I've been thinking about my first marriage. It's not my deepest wound, but I have less understanding and acceptance of this wound than I have of my sexual abuse or infertility.
For years I have been conflicted about it- torn between a lingering resentment at God for not keeping me safe like I thought He promised He would do, and a hatred of myself- for my weakness, for my stupid choices, for my selfishness and for my naivete.
Yesterday, I was thinking about it again. I was wondering again why God, in His mercy, had not sent me a good man- like the one I have now. He could have just sent me a good man, and all pain would have been spared.
That's where I paused, as an unlikely thought hit me. What would it have been like, if I had married a merciful, Godly man at that point in my life? Wouldn't I have sublimated my desire and longing for God into my love of this man?
I certainly would have. I would have felt no need to search desperately for God in truth, in reality, in the ruins of everything that I had thought made me valuable to Him.
I bet I would have just leaned on my husband's religion, on his experience and definitions- because that is my default place, that is what I naturally tend to do.
Instead, in one swift blow, I lost all my cherished guide marks, all the religious routes I had leaned on and all the easy answers.
I had to come to Him with nothing to offer Him but my incomplete, unreliable self.
I had to come to Him in conflict, knowing there might never be any answers at all- not in this life.
I had to come to Him alone, and from sheer longing- not to impress anyone else or to get their approval, not to conform to someone else's idea and not to acquire blessings, but simply because I could not live without Him.
And I found Him.
So, last night, for the first time in my life, I thanked Christ, fervently and genuinely, for my abusive and failed marriage. I let go of my earthly expectations of what I felt He should have done. I let go of my judgment about how I felt I should have behaved.
I thanked Him instead for what was true- that through the experience, I was thrown on a path that would lead me straight into His arms and into a relationship with Him that was based on authenticity, pure need and without formula or ritual.
My marriage and divorce was, in fact, one of the best things that ever happened to me. That's an example of what happens when God's redemptive powers hit our failures. He doesn't just forgive us- He transforms the entire experience.
In fact, it's a little something like this (although, unlike Paul, I initially lost everything because of sin, not expressly for the sake of Christ):
"But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as [one combined] loss for Christ's sake.
Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One),
And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law's demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith."
Philippians 3:7-9, Amplified Bible