Stay in Fellowship

I have seen many people fall prey to the temptation of isolation when everything goes wrong. They withdraw into a place deep within themselves that affords access to none. This leads me to my second major point:

Loneliness is never conquered by isolation.

I have been a police chaplain for many years and have received some very helpful training in critical-incident and mass-casualty stress management. One of the most effective tools I have learned is to get the victim of a trauma to start talking about the event as soon as possible, even at the scene. The mind has some wonderful built-in defense mechanisms (including shock) that allow us to endure the unthinkable. But the sooner a traumatized person begins to talk about what has happened, the sooner normal cognitive processes are restored. This does not lessen the pain by any stretch, but it does keep the mind working and allows the person to begin the process of moving forward in life with this unwanted and unexpected scar.

If the enemy can isolate you in your pain, he will. The loneliness that follows devastating pain and betrayal sometimes seems unbearable. When everything goes wrong in your marriage, your first inclination may be to draw back, to shut down, or even hide your struggles, not wanting anyone else to know. That, however, is a self-protective mode that will hurt you in the long run because it will keep you from your brothers and sisters in Christ who are singing the very songs of deliverance that you need to hear. In isolation, you are more likely to fall deeper into the blame game, accusing even God Himself for everything that went wrong.

Dear friend, in the day of trouble, do not withdraw and spend your time demanding an explanation from God for what went wrong or why He did not intervene. God has never been the cause or the blame for any marital woe—sin and pride have caused them all. He does not want you to suffer alone. In fact, Psalm 68:6 says, “God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.” That’s what He wants to do for you. Don’t let the fact that everything that could go wrong did go wrong define your life. Surround yourself with the body of Christ, and join them in singing songs of deliverance.

I know this is a tall order. There are times when a marriage is brutalized by adultery, and the enemy comes in like a flood upon the unsuspecting spouse. There are times when sin is repented of and forgiven, but the consequences damage the marriage relationship seemingly beyond repair. At those times, it’s easy to lock ourselves away and listen to the lies of the enemy. But that is the opposite of what Scripture tells us to do.

Hebrews 10:23–25 says, “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Wow, what powerful words! Did God give this command just to make sure that the church is full? Is this scripture given to the preacher so he can hold it over the heads of the congregation and guilt them into coming into church? A thousand times no! This scripture from the Word of God was given because loneliness is never conquered by isolation. God’s people, when going through difficulty, need to be surrounded by songs of deliverance and strengthened through Christian fellowship.

If everything has gone wrong in your marriage, you may have a voice in your head that constantly whispers, “No one cares. You’re all alone. You really don’t matter. God did nothing on your behalf to prevent this. Stay home. Be alone. It doesn’t make any difference. . .” That, dear friend, is the voice of the devil—not God.

Excerpt from “Happily… Even After” now available on Amazon.

BARRY STAGNER

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