Tenth Avenue North – “Stay” (Devotional)

Malachi 2:16

This passage used to confuse me. I questioned, “so God hates divorced people? I thought God loved everybody!” But when I turned the ripe old age of 30, this text began to make a lot more sense. I don’t know if there’s something about this age in particular, or maybe this was just the first time in my life I had a lot of married friends, but entering the fourth decade of my life, I noticed the the sparks begin to fly. Suddenly, divorce was everywhere. Marriages began crumbling all around me. Lines were drawn, harsh words were spoken, and over and over, I watched friends and loved ones throw in the towel.

Now, this text in Malachi becomes clear. God isn’t hating on divorced people; He simply agrees with everyone who’s ever suffered from the fallout. He’s saying, “I hate divorce, because marriage is a picture of how I love the church, so when you divorce, you make me look bad!” Again, it isn’t because He hates divorced people, but God hates divorce, because He hates brokenness. He hates the disintegration of love, and if we’re honest, we hate it too.

So, hear me clearly, I pray everyone who has ever suffered through divorce would know God’s love is fierce and forever for them still.

In fact, Him hating it, reminds us his love will never waiver for us. That’s the point. And when I think of His unwavering love, it gives me new strength to fight for mine. It led me to write this lyric, “Oh my love, I will fight my heart to keep you safe here, all my life, I will stay. Oh, my love, we are a light, a mirror of love eternal. So how could I, walk away?”

I know it sounds strange to say, “I will fight my heart to keep you safe,” but that’s exactly what Jesus did in the garden for us. He fought his self-preserving,  isolating self-concern to love His bride the church. May we follow Him to this end. Stay.

Stay through the doubt, the through the hurt, and the lure of greener grass on the other side. We may find the old saying to be true, “The grass is greener where you water it.”

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