We pick up Susan and Bill’s story where we left off last week. While Susan had been totally pre-occupied with her significant health issues, her fears had caused their twenty-year marriage to be put on hold. Feeling like a failure as a husband unable to fix his wife (as he had been his family of origin) and as a military man unable to fix his work frustrations, Bill decided divorce was the only solution. Susan’s choice was to play the victim or wage war on the enemy who, in their distress, was attempting to steal and destroy what had been a beautiful Christ-honoring relationship. Susan made the decision to stand for their marriage.
Initially, Susan was incensed that her husband didn’t seem to understand her need of compassion, but the Holy Spirit began to open her eyes to her own neglect and self-absorption. Crying out the Lord, she pleaded, “Please show me something … and He did!” God walked her through every step in winning her husband back.
With the support of two very discreet friends—one a prayer warrior and the other caring for her physical welfare—she launched out on a campaign of prayer, journaling through the Scriptures and fasting.
As Bill moved out of their bedroom, traveled extensively and for all practical purposes left home, Susan drew close to the Lord. In her spirit she heard Him say, “he will change as you are changed.” She prayed that Bill would be delivered from the powers of darkness (Colossians 1:13) and that he would be “filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work … ”; that he would be “strengthened with all power according to His glorious might …” (Colossians 1:9-12)
For a year and a half Susan’s battles were both within and without. While fighting depression, she discovered that a woman in Bill’s office was texting seductive pictures and messages. She had become the sympathetic ear Susan had not been. By God’s grace, Susan continued to stand, rejecting the prescribed anti-depression drugs, reminding the enemy that he was a defeated foe, and reminding herself that no weapon formed against their marriage would prosper!
God began to move on Bill’s heart to go back home. As he was unpacking, he told Susan, “I don’t love you! I don’t want to be married to you, but I have a covenant with you and I intend to keep it.” It was a devastating declaration, but one flickering with hope. It became apparent to Susan that Bill was in a pit he could hardly climb out of and yet out of obedience to God choosing to do the right thing.
At that point God led her to a 40-day journey of promises and praise. While she held fast to God’s promises to heal and restore (Isaiah 61), give a heart of flesh for a heart of stone (Ezekiel 36: 26), she daily shared with him praises – reasons she loved, admired, respected him. Susan’s petitions before the throne room of heaven and her affirming words softened Bill’s heart and set him free to risk loving his wife again.
On day 40, Susan wrote to Bill: “What a journey. As this 40-day heart journey comes to a close … He wants us to remember all the promises He has for us and all the blessings we have … to remember that we were created for each other, … (that) He loves us and wants us to be happy and keep our covenant. He wants us to remember that He is on our side … that our marriage was healed and restored because God is good, His love endures forever. Thank God that His love makes me better than anything I could ever be on my own, and that I stand on His promises, to the glory and praise of Him!”
What promises of God do you need to remember, as you stand firm in your walk with the Lord? As you stand on behalf of your marriage?
“The devil is vicious, but he’s not victorious. You, my friend have everything you need to defeat him!”*
* “Uninvited,” Lysa TurKeurst, Nelson Books, Nashville, 2016, pg. 151.