Every now and then, just when I think everything is swimming along just fine, I turn right slap into a solid wall. And then wander around in circles, too stunned to know what I’m doing or see where I’m going.
I don’t know if I can do this. I can hardly comprehend it properly. You made him and so many others of your children with this weakness and sin to deal with. Why do you give your children – such new baby ones too – such raw evil to face and battle? Why are so many innocent people hurt and why do so many people have their lives wrecked by this kind of thing? It’s horrible and blighting. This is the kind of thing that eats up every green and living thing and leaves a poisoned wasteland. Why do you turn lovely gardens into garbage dumps?
It’s so crippling, at a really basic level. It’s heartbreaking to everyone connected with it.
What I really want to know is whether I ought to continue in the way I’m going with my relationship. Is it right? Am I in a position where it’s right for me to be Christ’s instrument – to show his forgiveness and intolerance of sin and his love and purity? Or is that not my calling, not my duty? And if I should keep on, how do I do this? What can and can’t I bring up? How can I show Christ’s love and grace without countenancing or overlooking evil? How can I do that without unfitting myself for your service? Can I help someone through the fire with being singed myself? I might end up self-righteous or depressed or in any number of other sinful states myself.
And I guess, on a heavenly level – I can do all things. Which means that (on an earthly level too), yes, I could do this. But I do need to talk it through and work it all out.
This is something that will affect my life forever. I’ll always, always be haunted by awareness of this sin. What do I do with it? I can’t accept it. I can’t condemn my kinfolk who are caught up in it. Maybe it’s been brought to me so that I can be part of whoever of your people is fighting it from the higher ground. That is, not in the trenches, fighting to keep heads above it, but off to the side, reaching out hands to the sinking and shooting arrows into the enemy camp.
But is it supposed to be part of my life? Am I supposed to raise my little safe happy kingdom family in that battlefield? Really, everyone is going about in a battlefield, so I suppose that would be a yes.
The thing is; everything in my marriage is going to be tainted by it; from preliminary cuddles to real sweet and good sex. Every one of those pleased up-and-down glances, every embrace and caress and kiss. Those things are incredibly important to me. I don’t want any of that to smell second-hand.
Maybe this is a subject for later, but it really brings home to one some of the things you said about Israel – your relationship with your Only.
Anyway, I was nervous enough about sex. There’s some consolation in the fact that one’s husband is new to this stuff too. Well there goes that. I guess one doesn't realize how important purity and sanctity is until it’s killed off.
It’s so heartbreaking. That’s what I was crying about that night; the loss of his innocence. He’s such a sweet and good man, one of the best you made, and to find out one of the most precious gifts you’ve given him has been murdered…That’s a just cause to grieve indeed. But you can restore purity and goodness to even the most unwilling of your children. With all my heart, that’s what I wish for him. Whatever it would cost on my part. Really.
And if that cost means having him taken away from me – okay, other women have gone through worse. I can deal with that if it looks that way. But if the cost is paid in working it out for the rest of my life, how awful will it be? How would I fare being sent into the thick warfare as a little baby myself, hardly even able to get her armour right?
How would life be? Going about like a good wife pleasing one’s husband, and suddenly think – has he seen this before? Is this something that has already been tried on him by another woman? And so much worse to imagine what would be going through his head; what thoughts and images. Could I really go on like that? Or could I keep stopping and asking for help? Somehow, I know that either way, this is going to take as much prayer as I can give. It will take all my work and effort and a thousand deaths. Can I die for him? I guess that’s really dying for you, and that I’d better be able to do. But you can do the most improbable things in your children’s lives.
There are many other things to deal with –all the effects of the sin, even when it’s being kept at bay. Will he be able to take the real and good things in the right way? What trivializations are going to spring from that? What is he desensitized to? Some of what I have been reading scares me. It really scares me a lot. Like this:
“But, when the new behaviors no longer provide the happiness they seek, it won’t be long until the allure of returning to old behaviors outweighs the benefits of the new behaviors.”
Or “Men seem to be wired in such a way that pornography hijacks the proper functioning of their brains and has a long-lasting effect on their thoughts and lives.”
What’s the effect on his value system and the way he thinks about women in general (and children, and men – I don’t know what these things can subtly taint), and about marriage and sex? And spiritually, I don’t know what it does, but it does not sound good. Like deep down, it’s an attempt to satisfy something everyone’s missing, something everyone’s spirit is longing for, but that only you can give. And I really do not want him to expect that marriage is going to help that. This is me, I can’t do that. I can’t. I cannot have that expected of me. I need you to do that. And yes, there’s a god-shaped hole in me too, just as mess-causing, and that needs to be filled up just as much.
Oh God; it just completely washes over me and overwhelms me even to think about this sometimes. I can’t do any of this. Who am I trying to fool? The answer to all these questions is no; a certain and unmovable no. He’s completely lost, my efforts are hopeless and all for the wrong reasons and everyone is drowning; already dead.
And yet you’re the one who does those impossible things. You snatch death-covenanted corpses from the dead marshes and make them into living folks and give them armor and make them win battles. You take the most selfish sin-drenched motives of the most blindly self-centered and you melt them down into good motives, and cover them in hopefulness.
Please. You said that you work everything together for good. Take all this horrid mess and work a miracle. You said that you’ll transform your people into your likeness. You said that you’ll defend us and keep us. You said that you’ll renew us and purify us and give us glory. Transform us; give us your glory and cleanness. Crush us up and melt us down and burn away everything that doesn’t please you. We have nowhere to go and nowhere to hide but you. Take us in and keep us safe from the dragons. Give him all that armor to cast the dragon out of the gates, or even better, to kill it. There is no way I am going to share with a loathsome dragon, any more than you would share my heart with anything else. But a cast-out dragon is going to try to dig under, and even a dead dragon is going to let up a poisonous stench. Give me grace and strength to be able to deal with that over again every day.
This is more about me than about him – yes, I know his fight is going to be a hard one. Make him fight it well. Give him the strength and protection he needs to fight that battle every moment. Make him always aware of the reasons he’s fighting and who and what he’s fighting for. He’s not sinned against me. Not against himself or anyone else. Only you matter. Keep him on the good paths and keep him from falling. Keep him safe. I love him. Bring him home. Set him free.
And if such an honor is going to be given me – make me into the person who can best show your love for your children and your hatred of sin to him. Make me so I can reflect your mercy and jealousy and your grace and understanding and forgiveness clearly and truly.
You make pastures into deserts – and you make badlands and fever-holes into meadows and pure gardens. Whoever can understand that will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.
In everything do what you will.