Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Prince Charming vs. The Prince of Peace

When I was a little girl, I used to fantasize about being married.  I had a name for my imaginary husband ("Ryan"); lying in bed at night, I would pour out my heart to him.  I couldn't wait to find my soulmate.  I pictured him as a best friend that would never leave me or forsake me.  I thought the highlight of married life would be that time at the end of the day when it would be just the two of us.  I dreamt about having somebody to listen and see and understand me, someone with whom I could share my hopes and dreams, frustrations and disappointments.  It would be us against the world!  Maybe then I wouldn't feel so alone and achingly lonely.....

In my study of Daniel, the point was made that Antiochus III the Great was not the savior that Israel had hoped for.  Immediately, my thoughts turned to my own search for a savior.  Surely, I had expected my husband to "save" me.  I looked to him to fulfill me; I expected that married life would cure that insatiable ache and soul-crushing loneliness inside of me.

In fact, marriage did just the opposite; instead of finding relief for my great sadness and yearning, I found that my sorrows were multiplied.  Sometimes there is nothing lonelier than lying next to someone and still feeling miles apart.  At least when I was alone, my loneliness was not mixed with the devastating disappointment of broken dreams and shattered illusions.  The stark reality of dysfunction and suffering in what I had hoped would save me was almost more than my heart could bear.

The truth is that our marriage was drowning in my unrealistic expectations.  The fact that I had exalted Ed, placing him on a pedestal and essentially making him my counterfeit God, may be the very reason that our relationship was so rocky.  No one can ever live up to those expectations.  Did he feel the weight of my need to be saved?!?!  Did it frustrate him and drive him to anger because he innately knew that he could not carry that type of a burden or meet that need?

I know now that God will not share His glory with another.  My "worship" of my husband must have been so insulting, so obscene, in the eyes of my God.  Yes, my marriage left me almost totally devastated, but perhaps that was necessary to kill some things in me and to bring me to a place of humility and need.  In my NEED, I sought out God, desperate for Him, pursuing Him relentlessly.  The pain in my life made me hunger and thirst for truth, for something solid, for that firm foundation that I could truly build my life upon.  I had experienced the opposite (the turmoil and INstability of the "shifting sands"), and it brought me to my knees;  I simply could not live that way.

In hindsight, I see so clearly how the brokenness in my marriage was actually a gift from God.  If I had had a perfect marriage, Ed may still be sitting on the throne of my life.  If he had done all that I wanted and treated me like a princess and met my every need, satisfying and fulfilling all my longings, my foolish heart may be idolizing him still.

Thank You, Lord, for giving me a difficult man and a painful marriage because in that, I found You.  Thank You for revealing Yourself to me.  Like my friend Megan is always talking about, I see so clearly the beauty and blessing of "unanswered prayers."  You could have answered my prayer for a Prince Charming, but at what cost?  At the cost of settling for Prince Charming and missing the "Prince of Peace."  I hope that in sharing my story, I can bring glory to Your Name.  I marvel at Your ability to breathe new life into what was once dead.  I stand in awe of a God whose grace shines brightest in the midst of the most painful circumstances.  My prayer for the future is only this....that You would give me nothing that would rob me of You.  In the precious Name of the Only Savior who is worthy of my absolute and complete trust, Jesus Christ, Let it be so (Amen).

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