"even if he doesn't"

Your-Story-Matters.jpg

I published the blog post on April 30th, 2015. Likely, a date I will never forget. 

That day was the culmination of a season. The previous 6 months of my life were the hardest I had faced yet and if there were ever a time for me to throw my hands up in the air and scream "WHY???" at the top of my lungs - that was the time. That 6 months was the period of time between my (now ex) wife telling me she was pursuing a divorce and when a judge signed a paper making the divorce legal. 

I typed out my thoughts two weeks earlier on April 14th. Lots of tears mixed with a warmth that I could only describe as God's loving embrace spread throughout a day of writing. In total, I probably spent 6 hours sitting in front of my computer asking God how he wanted to use this horrible season of pain and confusion. When it was finished, I saved the file and hoped it would never publish - I saved it under the working title, "even if he doesn't". 

"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

Daniel 3:17-18

I had full faith that God was going to save my marriage all the way until I saw the sadness in the Judge's eyes as he took one last look at me as a married man. The judge and I were friends, both Christians with a high value for marriage. I am sure we both saw me as a failure - however I think (oddly enough) his view of the situation was less judgmental than mine. It was clear that he was also hoping for that "11th hour save" that didn't come.

On returning home from the Fentress County Courthouse that day (the 30th) I opened that working file one last time. I changed the name from "even if he doesn't" to "I am divorced". I had a pretty hard cry and then reaffirmed the truth that even though God did not swing in and miraculously save the mess my marriage was in, I would still trust in Him alone. I hit publish on my blog, I shared the post to social media and went dark for 2 whole days.

When I returned to social media, I was absolutely overwhelmed with response. I was getting messages from men who were experiencing different degrees of hopelessness for a wide range of reasons: sickness, impending divorce, loss of a child, loss of a job, broken relationships with parents... The questions from them were all varied, but all the same theme: "How are you able to still have hope after going through this?" To that, I was able to respond with the story of Christ's love in my life and the love he has for them.

I was willing to share my story of how God's love changed my life and sustained me through miserable times and as a result - the gospel was being preached. "Even if He doesn't - He will" became my message. Even if he doesn't save your marriage, he offers you love, forgiveness and a life better than you can imagine. Even if he doesn't heal you from the disease, he offers you life eternal. God loves you even if your parents don't right now. God has a plan for you even if all of yours have failed. Sharing what God has done in my life was impacting those around me and growing God's kingdom. 

Think about: The story of how God changed your life (through salvation) and how he has sustained your life when you face hard times is incredibly powerful. Have you ever taken time out to write down how and when you accepted Christ as savior? What is stopping you from sharing that with a friend this week? What story of God's love in your life, AFTER you accepted Christ as savior, can you share to open the door to the gospel of Jesus?

Pray: God, I remember what you did for me on the cross and I remember what you did for me (fill in your story here)... Help me to share my testimony with those around me in hopes that I will get to show them the gospel story of Jesus and the salvation you offer through Him.

/LukeRamey

Luke Ramey