I received a variety of responses when I first told people about my husband’s affairs – from comforting to downright hurtful. But one of the most helpful and insightful comments came from a wise woman who, after I told her my story, immediately asked, “How’s your faith?”
You see, this is war. Spiritual war. Satan would do anything to take away my faith – and if he can’t do that, he’ll settle for weakening it, dampening it, or at least getting me to stop telling people about it.
My honest answer to her at that time was, “My faith is strong.” In fact, I told her very candidly, “I can’t afford to question my faith right now because my faith is all I have left.” And I’ve written about how, as I clung to Jesus in that time, He revealed Himself to me more than ever before.
But make no mistake, Satan wants to use this to attack my faith. Recently, I wrote about a lingering question that was growing into a stumbling block for my faith: “Why didn’t God tell me my husband was cheating?” I also wrote about the answer God gave me to help me move past that question.
So, I thought this particular attack was behind me, but the other day, Satan tried to get me with this one again. I was lying in bed in the morning, thinking about a problem I was having – a relatively minor problem compared to some of the stuff I’m tackling on this blog. I found myself thinking, “Who could I talk to about this?,” and I started going through a list of friends in my mind. Then, I thought “Jesus, of course. He is always the right person to talk to.”
This has been a positive thought pattern in my life for many years. When I find myself thinking “Who can I talk to about this?,” I remind myself that Jesus has all the answers, and this has always spurred me on to begin talking to Him immediately.
But not this time. This time a nasty and unexpected thought came into my mind, “But I talked to Jesus all the time while my husband was cheating on me and look what a load of good that did.”
Woah. I knew this was not the place I wanted to be. I did not want to begrudge God for what happened, but in all honesty, this is where I was. I tried to remind myself of the things I had written about in part 1 of this series, but it didn’t help. This is where I was. That single thought had effectively zapped my desire to pray.
But I knew I “wanted to want” to pray. So, I asked God to take away this stumbling block again and give me back a sincere desire to want to talk to Him. That was all I could manage to pray that morning.
But that night, God answered my prayer. I went to a class I’m taking on spiritual warfare and the teacher said something that hit home. She said that if you spend a lot of time talking to God, you’re going to become more like Him.
Yes, of course, that was just the reminder I needed. The purpose of talking to God is to allow Him to shape me into His image. He never promised to give me all the answers – nowhere did He ever say that is what prayer is about.
He does promise to give wisdom to all who ask for it (James 1:5-7). And He certainly is giving me wisdom – more than I bargained for when it comes to sex addiction, lying, etc. What a babe in the woods I was just a few years ago. And this growth in wisdom is part of the (uncomfortable) process of becoming the person He designed me to be.
But He never promised to reveal to us the secret lives of other people – just like He doesn’t promise to tell us the inner workings of the stock market or of governments or anything else. There is a spiritual gift of Knowledge and sometimes believers are given a Word of Knowledge (1 Cor. 12:8), but not everyone will have all the gifts (1 Cor. 12:27-31), and, of course, no one but God has all knowledge.
So, what does He promise will happen if we seek Him with all our hearts (which starts with simply talking to Him)? He will reveal Himself to us (Jer. 29:13). He will show us the truth about our own hearts (2 Cor. 3:15-16). He will make us more like Him (2 Cor. 3:18). He will give us wisdom (James 1:5-7). And He will lead us, as we step out in faith (Is. 30:21). I know that He has been faithful to me in all these promises.
And, of course, God did eventually reveal my husband’s infidelity to me. What was done in darkness did come to light. And when I look back on the process of how that happened, I definitely see miraculous intervention and answers to my prayers, and I also see how He led me to a good counselor who led me to take practical steps to find out the truth. In other words, even in the process of bringing this to light, He was increasing both my faith and my wisdom.
And in the healing and recovery process, He is daily increasing my faith and growing me in wisdom.
And through this uncomfortable process, He is preparing me to help others. He is making me more compassionate – more of a person He can use. And He is giving me wisdom that I can pass on to others. And He is teaching me about the discipline of writing that I can use to pass on that wisdom. And He’s put in my heart a desire to learn something of the skill of counseling others. But if He had just given me a single, one-time revelation of my husband’s secret life, none of these things would have been brought about.
So, that’s the way He rolls.
And I know, and I trust, and I have tasted and seen that all His ways are good.
And I want to talk to him again.