How to Survive the Hurricane of Divorce
With all the major hurricanes experienced in America this last month I noticed something about the surviving trees. They looked really beat up but they were still standing upright. And even though most of their leaves had been stripped away by the wind they were still alive. These trees bear a resemblance to covenant keepers. So I did a little research on trees that survive hurricanes. Here are a few points:
- Well pruned trees survive hurricanes better than unpruned or poorly pruned trees. The pruning process is a painful process but necessary in our Christian life if we are to survive the hurricane of divorce. We must allow Jesus to cut away the things that do not belong in our life. John 15:2 (ESV) says, “He cuts off every branch of mine that does not produce fruit. He also trims every branch that produces fruit to prepare it to produce even more.”
- Trees in groups survive better than trees growing individually. We say all the time that if you want to get your marriage restored you will get in a CKI group and be a faithful attender. You survive better in a group than standing alone. Ecclesiastics 4:12 says, “And though one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
- Pine trees may show no visible damage but may decline over time because of invisible damage. Luke 18:17 says, “For there is nothing hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come out into the open.” Spouses may seem to be doing great with their new lives but their hearts are hurting because they are trying to forsake a covenant. However, hidden things will become evident over time.
- Have a comprehensive plan to care for your trees. We have all heard the saying by Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Allow me to add something to this quote. It is vitally important to get your plan from the Lord. Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God’s plan for your family is for everyone’s good (including the other person if they will only turn to the Lord.) Consult with the Master Planner; get your plan and then be diligent to carry out your part of the plan. That is called obedience.
- As a group the palm species survive better than broad leafed trees. Know who survives and why and use those plants. Did you get that? “Know who survives and why.” It is important to hang around with people of like mind and in our case that would be other CKs. If you simply hang around people you work with or sometimes even those people in your church who tell you to “get on with your life and find someone else,” then your covenant keeping may die a premature death. If you hang around people with restored marriages or with covenant keepers who have vast experience in perseverance your possibility of seeing your marriage restored will increase. Your momma was right when she said, “Be careful who you choose as friends.”
- Palms can lose all their fronds and still survive. Sometimes to the world it appears that we have lost all of our fronds but we still survive. This is a great testimony to the power of Jesus living in our lives. We may appear wind-blown and beaten up but Jesus is living big in our life. He is trustworthy. My appearance is not the end of the story. I remember one time our daughter Tamsen remarked, “We are doing good considering everything that has happened to our family.” We had lost all of our fronds but we still survived and God restored our family.
- Unhealthy trees are predisposed to damage. In most cases when people show up on the doorsteps of Covenant Keepers they have been hurt and damaged by the ravages of separation and divorce. That is why we say CKI is a healing and teaching ministry. It is quite difficult for people to learn anything new if they are hurting. First they need healing. We begin by encouraging everyone to concentrate on what the Lord is telling them to do as opposed to asking the Lord to do something with their spouse. Once they have been healed then their spirit is open to being taught what the Word of God says about marriage covenant. “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.” Hebrews 12:11-13 (ESV) Healing first and teaching second.
- Trees with more rooting space survive better. I have learned a few gardening tips from my dear husband who has developed quite a green thumb. To have a healthy plant one needs enough space for the roots to spread out and to go deep in order to stabilize the plant and give it support. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (ESV)
- Adequate soil depth, a deep water table and no compaction help wind resistance. As Christians our spiritual soil depth is measured by the amount of God’s Word that we have put into our spirit. Once the Word is in our spirit we will speak this Word, and not our problem, to our situation. “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45 (ESV) Jesus is the One and Only deep water table. He is the well that never runs dry. When our heart becomes compacted (hardened) it is difficult to hear the voice of the Father telling us which road to follow. Not only that, but according to Matthew 19:8 (KJV) a hard compacted heart can actually cause divorce. “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”
We can learn lessons from the very nature that God created in trees. CKs, I implore you to study trees and the lessons learned from the survival of trees during hurricanes. You were created to withstand the winds and floods of the hurricane of divorce and separation. Jesus is the answer to your survival and restoration. His way is the only way that will work long term. Be obedient to His Word and you will still be standing at the end of the storm.
Information taken from: Wind and Tress: Lessons Learned from Hurricanes by Mary L. Duryea and Eliana Kampf. Published by School of Forest Resources and Conservation Department, University of Florida.