Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh…” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. (Jonah 1:1-3)
God had made it pretty clear to me that my then-fiancee and I should not get married. He did this through various means: four years of arguing, me having to solicit a proposal, a broken engagement, me having to implore a second proposal, friends suggesting that our relationship wasn’t healthy and that we perhaps weren’t good for each other, and then, you know, the nudging of the Spirit.
But I fled to my Tarshish, stifling the voice of God.
But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea… (Jonah 1:4)
But theLord sent a great wind, in the form of continued conflict and much pain and many tears and tempestuousness that kept us both off our bearings for years, struggling, feeling the effects of our choices.
Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 2:1)
This tells me something significant. This tells me that there is a plan. That God is always preparing. This gives me the distinct impression that we never really walk outside the will of God. That God sees all and knows all.
We had two children, he and I. Two children that are beautiful and amazing and gifts. Two children that came from our union, that came from our supposed “mistake”. Two children that were prepared to be created before time began.
This reassures me that God is not up there, looking down at us messing up our lives, and smacking himself in the divine forehead, muttering under his breath, “What am I supposed to do with THAT horrific choice?”
No. I believe he looks at us, all of us just trying to get by, just trying to do our best, sometimes veering so far off the path but not usually because we want to be, and he has compassion on us. He has great, great compassion on us. And he prepares things for us. And he takes our choices – that he knows are coming – and he weaves something gentle and gorgeous and redemptive.
Our lives may feel undone, messy, chaotic, un-divine. But they are not. We are not. We are seen. We are helped. We are shown grace. We are given second and third (and more) chances. We are helped. We are loved.
If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here, or “Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage”, found here.