Mike was a young man with a new family. His wife and he were building the American dream and literally had the small house, two kids, a dog all surrounded by a white picket fence. Mike was a builder by trade and very meticulous about his work. Many of his houses were listed each year in the Parade of Homes due to his eye for quality and detail. Life was good and the family seemed very happy and secure, but one day that all changed when Mike enrolled in school to become a Pastor.
This was only somewhat of a shock at the time as Mike had been growing in his faith for many years. He became more involved at his church, started attending small groups and spending more and more time in the Scriptures. While Mike felt that his life was flowering into something new and beautiful his wife did not. She felt abandoned and like she had lost her husband to something else. As time went on the arguments became uglier and the time they spent away from each other seemed to fuel the fires even more. Finally, the camel’s back broke. Mike’s wife felt that her marriage was going down a path that would be unrecoverable. She felt ordinary, not appreciated, abandoned and empty.
While Mike was becoming more and more involved with his faith, growing and now going to pastoral licensing school, his wife was also becoming more involved at her work. She was starting to sense the attention and affection of a co-worker. Over the months, Mike missed the signs of a deteriorating marriage until the day she finally told him she was having an affair. This rocked his belief in God to the core. “After all I’m doing for God how could He let this happen?” Mike felt that since he was following the path God had carved out for him that God was left with the responsibility to keep everything else “in order!” Wrong! Really, Mike was putting God to the test!
While we are to “Do What It Says” (follow the call of Christ in our lives) we are not to ignore the other responsibilities God has entrusted to us. Mike had family responsibilities that he had walked away from. He ignored those that he loved because of his enthusiasm for his new-found life direction. In essence he had replaced his family with his ministry calling. In his subconscious, Mike was also looking forward to “God owing” him because of his service in Pastoral Ministry. Mike’s enthusiasm got the best of him!
To be faithful to the calling of God we have to remember that God will never ask us to do something that is wrong. God is good and the plans He executes in the world through us are good too! These plans are many times difficult, misunderstood and laden with hardship, but they are always good. We have to remember that “good” in God’s eyes is much different than “good” in humanities eyes. God is always moving forward toward the eternal redemption of His creation while our attention is many times very temporal.
In the fall of 2015 I had the opportunity to spend some time with Mike at a seminar we were both attending. Things had progressed in his family situation to a full blown ugly divorce that included using the kids as pawns. Mike was extremely depressed. One day in the middle of a class Mike turned to me and said; “I really blew it! I mentally and emotionally walked out on my family …. now it’s just done.”
As the months went on Mike did his best to become the father and husband that he knew God wanted him to be. He found out that he could serve God as a pastor and be a loving father and partner at the same time. It was difficult, as most things God calls us to do are, but he prayerfully started to seek God’s help and guidance to do them all. The good news is that on now Mike and his wife “dating” once again. Truly God is healing their marriage.
As in all situations where we are torn between living out God’s plans in our lives, we have to remember that those plans do not include abandoning the loved ones He has giving to us or expecting God to clean up our trail of broken commitments.
NOTE To Self: Don’t abandon those lovely people God has give to you!