It’s on my heart to write a series of articles that are specifically about about God’s presence and role during times of trouble. I think it’s possible a lot of people struggle to understand where God is when this kind of evil trauma happens. “Where are you, God? Why did you let this happen? I’m dying!”
My (our) story is not uncommon, unfortunately. First, both my husband and I are born-again Christians. We go to church. The year before this happened, we went to church nearly every Sunday. Second, we have close friends at church. My very best friend for the past 25 years sits with me in church and she loves my husband. Her husband was my husband’s best friend, who unfortunately died years ago. We have more close friends. We were a part of a “life group”, which was a small and close knit group of five couples that met twice per month for dinner and fellowship. The first year of the life group we even hosted in our home. The night my husband was missing, (see Infidelity Story in the menu bar for more), it was these people that I texted for help and prayer. We all did life together. Even our pastor and his wife were one of the five couples. Third, my husband volunteered two or three Sundays per month to work the sound board. This was another small and close knit group that he was a part of; the music and sound teams. A person would just never think this was going to be our story. I didn’t think this would be my story.
But here we are. And dear friend, this is our story.
Where is God when infidelity happens? He’s right by my husband’s side, urging him to stop. He’s right by my side, making sure I learn the truth about Husband’s infidelity. I only learned about the betrayal because I was using his computer to do work from home for a Christian charity for which I’m a volunteer. Pop up messages kept waving to me on the screen — an email from “Judith”. A Facebook message from Judith. Finally I stopped for a moment and clicked on one of these and it all unfolded before me. Once I saw their communications I knew exactly who this was. This was the “Judith” that was his high school girlfriend. (PS. we’re in our 50’s.) It was devastating. It was unbelievably soul crushing to read their words to each other. “Where are you, God?”
“I’m right here, helping you learn the truth.”
I had known something was wrong. For months I couldn’t get more than two words out of my husband. He seemed angry with me all the time. He kept himself locked up on his home office. And this cold and distant husband was the same husband that had labored with me side-by-side all summer, building a rain garden and a retaining wall. We both say this was the best summer of our lives. We attended the aforementioned charity’s fall gala together, and we were happy. So very happy. Then as quickly as the seasons can change, so did ours. He was not the same husband, and I couldn’t get to the bottom of it. And so there was God. Right beside me, guiding me to the resources to learn the truth that I needed know.
In the bible, John chapter 8 starts with adultery. A woman is accused of adultery, and Jesus stands beside her. Not to support her sin, but to support her value to him. He loves us all. He spoke to the people around him and as he spoke, many believed him.
(v31) To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you told to my teaching, you are really my disciples. (v32) Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
I do hold to his teachings. I am his disciple. The knowing of the truth, is in itself powerful. Knowing the truth about what was happening in my life wasn’t fun and didn’t “feel” freeing. And yet, I know that it was. Our marriage was a slave to sin. Shining the light on that sin was going to set us all free.
(v34) Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. (v35) Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. (v36) So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. ”
And so it was, that I learned the truth. I was a slave to my husband’s sin.
Many times I talked to my friend on the phone, and shared that I just didn’t know how much longer I could do this. Fretting and fidgeting and hurting and pondering to try to figure out what was wrong. Why was he always so angry with me? Why was he playing games on his cell phone for hours and hours every day? Why wouldn’t he give me the time of day? Why am I going to bed lonely in a house full of people, in a bed for two, with my face to the window to gaze into emptiness. Why?
The truth fractured a yoke. Most definitely the truth broke the heavy yoke of “sin and death” that we were wearing; the yoke that was going to kill our marriage. Sometimes the truth hurts. Jesus struggled with a painful truth in the Garden of Gethsemane. The truth that he would be nailed to a cross and crucified. That truth hurt. But we’re so loved, and so important to him, that he willingly stepped up to sacrifice himself for me. For you. For my husband.
Just like he did not condemn the woman accused of adultery at the beginning of chapter 8, just like he made a way for her to escape imminent death and her sin, he made a way for us (both husband and I) to escape slavery to sin and death. Here’s how it played out for the woman in John chapter 8…
(v2) At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. (v3) The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group (v4) and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. (v5) In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (v6) They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. (v7) When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (v8) Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. (v9) At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. (v10)Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
(v11) “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
This is the first of many posts about the presence of God in my life during the very worst year I’ve lived. He doesn’t condemn me for my sins. He doesn’t condemn my husband for his sins. He loves us and grieves with us, and he has been my ever present help in my time of trouble. He made a way to escape this trap of sin and death to our marriage.
Have hope, dear friend. He loves you, too. He has made a way for you to be set free. And he whom the Son sets free, well that person is INDEED FREE.
Have you set a chair for God to come beside you, to help you? The chair in the photo is empty, but the chair next to you right now doesn’t need to be. Reach out, and he will set himself beside you (whether you are the betrayed or the betrayer). He will not leave you to figure this out on your own.
Dear Lord, I humbly come before you and ask for your forgiveness for my own sins. I appreciate your hand in my hand, as I walk through this trauma. Thank you for not leaving me alone to suffer in this trap forever. Thank you for making the way out, and helping me be strong enough to learn the truth and survive it. I pray for each person reading. Help them to know they are not alone and that you are also their ever present help in their time of trouble. Set their feet on solid ground. Help them forward, one step at a time.
If you have questions you’d like to see a blog post about, please submit in the comments and I’ll do my best as God leads me to work on them. If you have never read the bible, a good place to start is John chapter 1. Bible.com has a free bible. The easiest version of the bible to read is probably “New International Version” (NIV), which is what was used for the bible quotes in this article.
You are not alone.