Monday, June 8, 2015

No Man's Land

You weren't meant to die here.

Everyone knows the story of Moses and how he led his people out of Egyptian captivity. Disney even made an animated film about it. In so many ways, I see the experiences of many marriages in that story, especially when I look at how the Jewish people respond to the suffering that comes after their slavery ends. Unfortunately, the end of their servitude was not their final obstacle.

Affairs work the same way.  Even if you find victory over this daunting issue in your marriage, it surely won't be the last problem, and the shadow of infidelity can have a chilling effect on any struggles you face in your future. Suddenly, minor hurdles become major battlegrounds. Annoyances become burdens. Frustrations become toxic. Everything can appear magnified by the pain of the past.

That's where I come back to the story that unfolds after the famous tale of Exodus.  Everything wasn't perfect for the Jews once they evaded Pharaoh's pursuit. In fact, things were pretty awful at times. In Numbers 21, the miserable crowd begins to rise up against God, angry that they feel abandoned in the no man's land beyond Egypt. Take a look:

They began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!”

Indeed, when any major problems arise after an affair, our heart can resonate with this same refrain. Did God lead us through the pain of betrayal to let us wither in the desert instead? Of course, the answer is no, but the inside perspective is not quite that clear. When the sun's beating down on you and there's nothing to sustain you, it's not easy to see the victories of the past.

Don't misunderstand my heart here. This is not meant to minimize anything you may be facing in your relationship right now; it's quite the opposite. Imagine how serious the plight of the Jewish people must have been, that they would find themselves feeling betrayed by the one who liberated them!  At least, in their captivity, there was food and shelter. At least there was security in their misery. Now, they were in a new and dangerous place they've never been before. And the only solution to their situation was to keep walking.

I write all of this to say one thing: you weren't meant to die here.  God did not lead you to this place only to be devastated again. He is not in the business of watching your marriage suffer. He will sustain you as you travel through the no man's land, between the dangers of your former captivity and the abundance of your future promised land. Keep walking.

You are reading The Meaning of Repentance, a blog about The Hartsfields and their journey to recovery from infidelity. We encourage you to subscribe via e-mail for regular updates.

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