Tuesday’s message is from Bob, who was a prodigal who returned home and was remarried to me for an additional 23 years before the Lord took him home to Heaven. Bob wrote 19 books from the prodigal’s perspective for more than two decades after our divorce and remarriage.
I picked an excerpt from Bob’s book, The Prodigal’s Perspective, that I hope will be a blessing to you. Thank You Lord for Your faithfulness in wanting marriages restored! – Charlyne
Yes, some day you will. Just as the Lord has restored your unconditional love for your spouse, He will also restore the trust. Trust is not automatically restored when a spouse comes home. Trust requires effort on the part of both spouses.
Can you picture in your mind a five-year old learning to ride their first two-wheel bike without training wheels? Picture a winded mom or dad making trip after trip up and down the street, running alongside the bike, with a firm grip on the back of the seat. The youngster divides his or her time between watching the road ahead and looking over their shoulder, making certain the parent is holding on. On one trip, the child watches less, and as the handlebars wobble less, the parent relaxes their grip just a bit. The child is having such a proud time they hardly notice. Given enough time, the parent is running alongside, but not even touching the bike. Nevertheless, they are ready to grab on should the bike start to fall.
Once your prodigal has had their heart broken by the realization of what they have done, several things will start happening. None are instant, but they will happen. Foremost is the establishment of a forgiven relationship with the Lord. That must be the pavement on which you and your spouse will again learn to ride the bike of trust.
Your returned prodigal will also come to respect the stand you had taken. If your walk matches your talk, and we pray that it does, time and time again, and without any help from you, your beloved will come face to face with the sacrifice you made for them. Soon their trampling on your trust will be like the new biker intentionally riding over the parent’s toes; every effort is made to avoid that happening.
If your prodigal is serious about restoration, they will be coming home with the training wheels on their bike of trust. Day after day they will be learning to ride again. For now, be content to help them keep their balance in the matter of trust. Don’t worry about being able to ride a Harley Davidson years from now. As your spouse grows in the Lord, recovering from where they have been and what has happened, your trust will come back.
Have you ever seen any parent when their child was ready to solo on their bike say, “I know you can’t do it. You’ll fall. You’ll never make it out of the driveway!” No way! They say, “You can do it! Pay attention and you will do fine. I know you can!” Sadly, we know standers who show about that much trust with their returned prodigals. These are the people whose spouses usually do fall again.
Do not go around loosening the lugs on your mate’s trust bike by checking up on them. Do not intercept their mail, dig through their personal items or hit redial on their cell phone, and such. All you will be doing is giving the enemy grand opportunities to misrepresent something to you, and the evil one always will. If there is something that you, as a stander, needs to know, the Lord will reveal it to you.
If you can’t trust your spouse, trust your God. It is far better to pray and ask the Lord to protect them from another person than for you to plant land mines in their path that always blow up and injure you and your spouse.
Charlyne has often said that she will never stop standing for me. That includes praying for me every day that God would block the path should I ever attempt to return to former habits, (what a great feeling for a returned prodigal to know that a spouse is praying for them!)
If you are a stander, I want to give you the prodigal’s perspective on trust. Regardless of what your prodigal is doing or saying, the one you love still wants to know they can trust you now, divorce or no divorce. Run from any opportunity you may encounter when you think, “This will make my mate jealous and open their eyes.”
Charlyne went out of her way to insure that I was never suspicious of her activities, even to the extent of calling when she was forced by circumstances to have a business lunch with another man. I would say, “So, why are you telling me?” but, at the same time be thinking, “Wow! She is so serious about our marriage restoration that she wants to avoid any appearance of anything else.”
If you are a prodigal, I have been where you are. Both of us look at our spouses in amazement that they can even cope with everything we are dishing out. The time for you to start to rebuild trust is right now. Your spouse, standing with God, and praying for marriage restoration, will hang on to any glimmer of trust that you can show them.
We both know that the other person has to go, and that God will push you until that happens. As the politicians say, “sooner rather than later” is the best for all concerned. I am praying that today you can make a move in the right direction.
Standing and trusting are processes. Learn your lessons well today so that you can be all that God wants you to be for Him and for your family tomorrow. Do things His way and He will teach you how to trust again.
Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. Psalm 40:4-5
Unless otherwise noted, scripture quoted are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.