She had been down this road before. Her first marriage had fallen apart and she was now ready for this marriage to be over as well. It seemed simpler before because the abortion had helped to keep the first marriage uncomplicated with no children to deal with. But this time would be different.
She and Dave had two children together but even though the children would complicate things, in her mind it was still over. Dave had continued to become more and more obsessed with the clubbing scene and his musical hobbies.
There wasn’t another woman. There was just Dave’s preoccupation with himself and his own interests, leaving her alone to deal with the kids. All he wanted to do was acquire more equipment and music for his part-time DJ business, and his manipulative selfishness had just become way too much to deal with any more.
Even though Dave’s job as a beer distributor paid the bills, all along he had aspirations of becoming a recording artist. He had even built a makeshift sound studio in their basement where he spent hours and hours neglecting his wife and children. She despised all his talk about music and was frustrated by the money that was wasted on his obsession.
They were always in conflict. A peaceful happy marriage just seemed to be beyond her grasp. She began leaving newspaper clippings on the table for Dave to find with various apartment options circled. She was hoping he would take the hint. She just wanted him out. She wanted freedom from whatever this had become.
On top of all this, Dave had recently wanted the whole family to start going to church. She resisted this idea too, but he just seemed so adamant about it that she went along with the charade, waiting for the opportunity to put an end to this marital tragedy.
One Sunday they got all dressed up like church people are supposed to, but by the time they got to the church near their home the service had already started. “Now what do we do?” she said. Dave had another idea in mind. Just a few blocks away was another church that he had his eye on. Maybe they wouldn’t be too late for that service. So without a word Dave drove on.
Chance encounter with the right church
He knew things weren’t going very well in his marriage but he didn’t know what to do to fix them. The harder he tried to appease her, the further she distanced herself from him. For Dave the only thing left was to see if church could make the difference.
Long ago when he was a boy he remembered the warm feelings of love he had received from his grandmother who used to take him to church. With the pain of his own parents’ divorce in mind, he was determined not to let that happen to him or his children. Maybe the church could make the difference. Maybe God could help him find his way through all this conflict and unhappiness.
As they pulled into the church parking lot it was clear that people were still going in. At least they wouldn’t stand out by walking in late. As they made their way in they were pleasantly greeted by a kind gentleman at the door. They were handed a program of the service and they made their way into the sanctuary.
As they sat down they really didn’t know what to expect but to Dave’s surprise a group of musicians began playing to start the service. Instead of an organ and a piano, there was a band. Not only that but the band was pretty good. The words to the songs were not in a hymnal like he recalled from his years with his grandmother but they were projected up on a screen. The young man leading the band and the worship was an incredible guitarist.
Dave knew that this was the place to be. Later the pastor got up and gave a heartfelt message full of passion and conviction. After the service they bumped into some friends they knew from the clubs downtown who had also recently started attending the church.
She really didn’t want to be there but Dave was in heaven. He felt as though he had come home.
As the weeks went by, Dave began meeting the pastor regularly. The pastor seemed to really care about Dave and began investing in him. Dave asked if he could play guitar with the praise band. The pastor agreed. The pastor invited Dave to come out Wednesday night to check out the youth group.
Dave arrived a little early wearing his cool beer jacket. That night he heard a few students share prayer requests about their family members who were dealing with alcohol abuse, among other things. Dave was blown away. He realised that all the beer he was delivering all over town was causing pain for some of these teenagers.
The following week he came to the meeting but this time he had removed the beer labels from his jacket. Over time Dave’s life was transformed. As he put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ, he began to change in a huge way.
But she didn’t buy it. All she could think was that Dave was off on some other new whim. In her mind she would be left in the dust, left to deal with the house and all the parenting responsibilities.
What was this new spiritual manipulation he was into anyway? What was he trying to accomplish by becoming “holier than thou?” It wouldn’t be long now and this fad would pass too.
A year went by and then another year and it seemed that this passing spiritual fad of his was here to stay: something real was happening to Dave. He was finally listening to her and really trying to meet her needs. She had never been loved this way before in her life.
Finally, she realised that the wonderful difference in Dave that she was seeing and experiencing was because of his relationship with Jesus Christ. Maybe God did have the answers to the pain, fear and loneliness after all.
As time went by she too gave her life to Christ. They were both baptised in the church and now there was just one more thing that she felt needed to happen to make things right.
Years before in her first marriage she had terminated her pregnancy in the midst of horrible circumstances. She knew it was wrong to do but now how could she make things right? She approached Dave about her desire to have a third child with him. In her mind, this was the only way to make things right with God.
Be fruitful and multiply
The only problem was Dave’s vasectomy several years before. But after hearing her heart Dave knew what he needed to do. Because of his love for her he immediately made arrangements to have a vasectomy reversal, and within a year everything had been made right with the birth of a baby girl.
It is now 10 years later and Dave is the full-time associate pastor of their church and leads the worship with his guitar every Sunday. She sits right up front with all their kids and encourages him with her warm smile. By God’s grace she finally has all the peace, joy and security she has always longed for in Dave.
God is the One who has made all the difference.
– Reverend Bradley S. Belcher is the senior pastor with the International Baptist Church of Budapest, www.ibcbudapest.org. Should you have a question or comment regarding this column, email firstname.lastname@example.org.