Question:

I have no where else to turn at this point. I have prayed, but I guess I'm not doing it right. I have changed my ways, but I guess I haven't changed them enough or the right ones. I have strived diligently to be obedient to the word of God as best I can, yet here I am in one of the very worse positions I have ever been in.

I'm married to someone who has taken up with his mistress and has been doing so for about a year. I now live in a shelter while they live in a comfortable apartment. I'm not even really hurt about the marriage being over any more as I counted it a punishment for my actions, or broken promise in a prayer I made with God. However, this man has done nothing but lie. He has deceived everyone and everything, and now even my children. The house we had was foreclosed on. My income wasn't enough, and he decided he shouldn't have to pay any more. The car I had lost as well, and even the job I had is now gone.

Even in all that I held on to a belief that God would make a way, and if I came to Him in truth and humbled myself and asked for forgiveness, He would work for me from there. However, it seems no matter what I tried, it went wrong. What I desired laid dormant. So, I prayed about my desires, and strived and worked toward allowing God's will be my will. I won't lie, it was a very hard and turmoil filled journey. Every day though I would get back on the prayer horse and start again. I begin to tithe on whatever money I had coming in, which wasn't much because the children's father decided not to pay child support, and I felt that I would trust God to provide. In the past I had always planned to tithe but never did as I should, so now I was so proud of myself for doing the right thing and following the Word.

I prayed and strived to remain faithful. I prayed that my situation would turn around, but it never did; in fact, it keeps getting worse. I have to admit, my faith is wavering at best. If I'm honest, I haven't any really left at all. This man has done the most dirty things to me, and yet he lives comfortably. I'm not shacked up with anyone. I haven't been sleeping with anyone. I don't even court right now because we are legally still married. And yet my situation gets worse while his continues to flourish.

I'm wondering where are the promises of the Bible right now? This hasn't been for a month or two or thee but a year. It is written that obedience is better than sacrifice and even though I'm no where near perfect I strive to obey God's word. It is written that if you bring all the tithes back to the house, God will open up the window of heaven and pour out a blessing to abundant to receive. It is written be not deceived for God is not mocked, a man shall reap what he sows. Is my husband's relationship with this woman not a mockery? Is it possible that God finds their union good and gave it to them? It is written that whatever you shall ask the Father for in my name and He will give it to you. I've been asking. It is written that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His Word. Was it I wasn't called and had been obeying for nothing? It is written that if my people would turn from their wicked ways and humble themselves and seek my face then will I hear them from heaven and heal their land. I'm not sure how much more humble I could have been, and I honestly strives to seek the face, voice, presence of God; yet my situation gets worse.

I've made mistakes along the way, and I realize I had to take responsibility for my actions and asked for forgiveness for those times during this journey, but still my situation is worse. Now, I don't see my children. They have lied on me and said I did things I didn't do. I wonder as it is also written what happened to God rebuking the devourer for me? I've even prayed and asked for God to not continue to deal with me in His anger because of my belief of punishment for a broken promise made in prayer. Then as I continued to read the Word, it is written that God forgave a man for being among the most vile men and persecutors of the people of God for his ignorance and doubt. So, I prayed and asked for forgiveness for my own ignorance and doubt and still nothing gets any better. Through my tears and fits of pain, rage, anger, confusion I would still strive to say the words, "I will not curse thee," yet my situation remains the same or gets worse. I know it is written that you can not please the Lord without faith, but through all that and even saying all that doesn't tell even half of the story. How do I hold on to faith when I don't see anything written coming to pass? My situation remains the same and even gets worse, and when I try to move forward I'm again left at a stand still.


Answer:

You seem to have a very inaccurate view of what the Bible teaches. God never promised freedom from struggles, quite the opposite actually.

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:2-4).

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls" (I Peter 1:6-9).

Have you not read about the struggles David endured as he fled for his life from Saul for many years? Do you not know about the imprisonments of Paul? Or how about the struggles of Job, who by the way was never told why he had to suffer so greatly.

Paul did say, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). But what sort of things did Paul have in mind? "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:35-37). The point of the passage is that bad things happen, but don't worry about them because God can ultimately make good things result from bad things.

"You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives." If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed" (Hebrews 12:4-13).

I'm sorry your husband is a wicked man. But you have a life to live and things that need to be done. We pray for our daily food (Matthew 6:11), but we are still expected to go out and work (II Thessalonians 3:10). You don't have what you desire, but you were given what you needed. You have a roof over your head and you have food to eat. Sadly, I didn't see you mention being thankful to God for taking care of you.

I don't know what problem your children are having with you, but I do know it is hard to live with a bitter person. "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled" (Hebrews 12:14-15).

Your husband is committing adultery. Since you don't expect him to return, you may choose to divorce him and move on with your life. But you have to do what you can. God is not withholding forgiveness from you. But you do have to let go of the past if you are going to have a future.

First, allow me to say thank you in abundance for your detailed and very speedy response.

I would like to express my gratefulness to have somewhere to stay and food to eat. I make sure I confess that every day so that I won't do myself a further disservice. I strive to remain mindful not to attach myself to a spirit of murmur and complaint as the children of Israel did in the wilderness. To be honest, the shelter I'm in is beautiful and well kept. Of course there are rules and chores, but I choose to remind myself when I start to feel as if I'm too tired to do my chore that it's a blessing to be able to sweep this floor or whatever has been set out for me as there is another woman somewhere wishing to have this chore in this place. I will forever remain grateful for this place provided for me. When we have no personal items the shelter actually provides them for us. So for the sake of having somewhere to stay and having more than enough food to eat, I am humbled and extremely grateful. I humble myself in apology for even allowing the absence of those words to stand in my last message.

As for living with a bitter person, I have to say in truth I have been bitter or in a depressive mood, but I had been progressively coming out of that. I started to feel like I could finally see a brighter, more positive day ahead even if not right ahead. I am not, however, opposed to spiritual advice and will accept the view you have placed in front of me to see. I'm willing, so willing, to strive to be and live by the Word as best as I can and be prepared to humble myself and ask for forgiveness for the moments of mistakes, misjudgments, poor decisions or even ignorance I have.

I just want to feel, hear, see something that will let me know where I stand. Am I being punished, are these just trials, both or what? Reading the Word about accepting God's chastisement as good did make me look at my situation slightly differently, but I have to be honest, it still troubles me. The pile up of situations, one after another, makes me feel as if, instead of this just being a chastisement, it is a curse.

I started my own legal paperwork today to file my divorce after legal aid turned me down to assist me. And even today more trouble came my way. I know any event can only affect you how you allow it, but again all I could think was God, and shake my head. This whole experience has me baffled with the promises of the Word and the results I've seen thus far. I would be telling you an out and out lie if I said I have counted all this as joy as I patiently wait on the Lord. I did have that view in the midst of my pain at first, but now I feel lost and really don't know.

I used to read the book of Job every night before going to bed and remain thankful that I was able to at least have my children still. And after viewing a sermon about Job, it gave me a different view of his troubles, which was God saw something in his spirit that needed to be cleansed. Even though he was a godly man, y there was a spirit that began to grow that had to be revealed and cleansed, and that was why he allowed Job's trials and seemingly offered him up to Satan. So, I wondered and accepted that possibility and every day I prayed for the Holy Spirit to search me and bring to my mind and conscious those things not right, so that I may willingly confess them and ask for forgiveness for them.

I have to say I am not familiar with all David went through as he ran for his life from Saul and I will read up on that in specific detail to get a more informed picture. Your message has put me at a fork in the road, which is way better than where I was when I wrote my initial message to you. So, for now I will just say "Thank you" and bid you this fare well. I hope to be able to stay in some form of contact with you. I would love to update you on the progress or decline of my situation (with tact, taste and proportion, of course). Again, God bless you and thank you once again for taking the time to respond to my troubling message.