This post is a sample of Jason Cruise's most known resource, a devotion called "The Man Minute" that comes out once a week on Mondays. The vast majority of the Man Minute devotions are distributed to men via email once a week. You can join the tribe by clicking here.
He was having a hard time with his job. Life wasn’t really working well at the moment. Strangely, he began to ponder life from my perspective, saying, “I cannot imagine what it’s like, being in ministry. You must see a lot of stuff.”
Then he said, “Of all the things you see, what bothers you the most? What gets to you the most?”
My answer was immediate. I didn’t even have to think about it.
He could tell from the conviction in my voice that I was certain about my answer as to what hurts my heart the most.
I don’t think he was at all prepared for what I said. It caught him off guard.
Just this week I spent some time hunting with a man who over the years has become a source of unmatched wisdom to me. Steve Chapman is a nationally known singer/songwriter, with equal acclaim as an author. Why he’s my friend I’ll never know. Maybe it’s that I can call in turkeys for him to shoot, and in payment, he provides soul maintenance for me as a father and husband. I am certain I’m getting the better end of that deal.
Steve squeezed the trigger, and we watched yet another bird fall victim to his old Mossberg. 68 seconds later another tom entered the field, saw our decoys and Chap’s bird doing the death flop, mistook the flopper for a tom breeding a hen, and came running. So, I took Steve’s ballistic companion and sent jealousy to its eternal dwelling.
On the way home, Steve pulled a package out of his truck. It was a CD entitled “Revival” and Steve wasn’t on the cover.
Steve’s son, Nathan Chapman, is already a legendary music producer in Nashville. No kidding. I could rattle off the celebrities and #1 records Nate’s produced, but Nate wouldn’t like that, so I won’t do it. Humility is a cherished component of the Chapman tribe, and thus I’ll yield.
Nathan recently launched an album of his own. I honestly don’t know when I’ve seen a music project grab me on so many levels. There was, however, one track which I simply couldn’t stop playing on the way home.
When I listened to it the first time, I cried.
Out of nowhere, I found tears in my eyes.
I cried because it made me think of the question where the man asked me what is it that I see that breaks my heart the most.
In the track “I Broke The World” the voice from Nathan’s pen states, “Well what do I tell her, and you know she will ask me, ‘Why don’t we live in the same house as daddy?’ And you know how it hurts, when she starts to cry, because you know there’s no answer to the question, ‘Why?’ I didn’t break your heart, I broke the world.”
When he asked me, “What gets to you the most?” my answer was immediate.
I said without hesitation, “Divorce.”
His look was one of astonishment. I know the look. I know it well.
It’s the same look I get every time someone asks me that same question. They think I’m going to refer to drug addiction, or rape, or the death of a child. They expect my response will speak to something truly tragic, and ugly, and lingering.
What most people don’t know is that I can think of nothing I’ve seen which is more tragic, and ugly, and lingering than divorce.
This is hard for me to talk about with you, my brothers, because I know that many of you have lived the ugly, lingering tragedy. There are those of you who had no way out of it, and you couldn’t stop it. There are those of you whom divorce chose you, you didn’t choose it.
This is very hard for me to talk about because divorce has brought so many of you intense pain. For a staggering number of you, the pain is always there, just behind the veil of your heart, and I want you to know . . . that I know . . . that you hurt.
Which is why we must talk about it, because divorce is awful.
After over 20 years of ministry, the reason I have such conviction that divorce is the worst thing I see is found in the simplicity of roots.
The next time you see a fallen down tree blown over from a strong wind, take note of the root ball. A 10-inch tree standing only 12 feet high will leave a magnanimous crater where roots were ripped from the ground. Dirt and debris are everywhere, and all of it from what seems like a small tree.
Roots go deep, and when they are ripped up, they take flesh with them.
When God says “I hate divorce …” He means it (Malachi 2:16).
He means it, and He hates it, because our Heavenly Father knows that divorce rips up lives. It rips up children, who become adults, who have to pay money to see therapists, because they cannot pinpoint why they are angry individuals, until the therapist helps them trace it all back to being devastated by watching their mom and dad rip up the root system of their home. They pay money for an emotional mechanic to look inside their broken-down vessel only to help them discover that what appears to be anger is just pain in disguise. Awful, awful pain, and hurt, and disillusionment, that was driven deep into the heart of a child who is now an adult.
What you must remember, what discipleship demands that you remember, is that you made a covenant. And, you didn't just make a covenant with your wife, it's cosmically greater than promising a mortal your commitment. You made a covenant with a holy God. You made a covenant that you would push through the worst in order to see the best. Look at the image above you. There's not one root. There's dozens. Intertwined. Woven into one another's story. This covenant is not about you. It's about everyone attached to the vine.
There are those of you reading this right now who recently have talked with a lawyer about your options. The pain in your heart is screaming just as loud as your last argument. It’s the same broken record that won’t stop playing, fight after fight. The silence in your marriage is deafening, and no matter how many drinks you have, you know that it simply isn’t going to get any better. And so you’re looking at pulling up roots.
God hates divorce. Yes, He does.
Let me tell you what He loves: you. And your wife. And your kids. And your home.
This is what I know: there is no marriage so broken that God cannot make it beautiful again. Redemption is His specialty.
Redemption is not without payment, however.
The cost is that you must be willing to be redeemed.