As a pastoral counselor, I wish I had a proverbial dollar for every time I’ve heard someone ask for a relationship miracle. “God please save my marriage,” many ask.
But do we understand what we’re seeking?
Miraculous Rescue from the Abyss
We were driving home from a family fishing trip in northern Quebec Canada. We were on a 1.5 lane logging road 80 miles north of Maniwaki—literally the middle of nowhere. It was dark, it was late, and it was raining cats and dogs.
I crested a hill and my father said, “You might want to move over to the left.” As he said this, I noticed we were headed down a hill toward a one lane bridge over a logging river. There were no guardrails, just 4×6” planks on either side of the bridge. We were just off to the right of where the bridge would be at the bottom of the hill so I needed to move.
And I did—or at least I tried!
I moved the wheel, but nothing happened. I turned sharper and still nothing. I tapped the brakes and still nothing—now I knew I was in a mudslide and had no control of the vehicle. “I can’t stop it—we’re sliding,” I shouted! “Hang on everyone,” Dad yelled. We slid into a sign and it flew over the car. We were headed at an angle off the side of the bridge seemingly to go air-borne into the abyss…when all of a sudden…we stopped.
We sat there stunned for what seemed like hours, but was actually only a few seconds. “W-we stopped,” I stammered. Dad opened his door to try to get out but quickly realized that wouldn’t work and that we were not yet out of danger. The front third of the car was handing over nothing—he couldn’t get out because there was nothing but air to stand on.
“OK girls,” Dad shouted to my Mom, sister, and friend in the backseat, “Slide out the driver’s side door quickly and carefully. They complied between sobs and shrieks. “OK Son,” Dad said, “Now you get out too.” “But I can’t Dad!” I was white-knuckling the steering wheel still with both feet on the brake, the car in park, and with the emergency brake pushed all the way to the floor as well. “If I let go, the car may fall with you in it!” “It’s OK,” Dad said, “You keep it in park with the emergency brake on. Just slide out and I’ll be right behind you.”
I remember sliding out like a cat jumping from a proverbial tin roof. I ran to the front of the car and held the hood—pushing the car back from the edge of the bridge as best as I could. Before Dad even made it out, a man mysteriously showed-up behind us in a jeep with, believe-it-or-not, a winch on the front. Without a word, he strapped the cable to our back pumper, cranked up the winch, and pulled us off the board on the edge of the bridge. When he did, the plank fell off the edge of the bridge, right into the rocky water below. It was broken and split in two—thus, there was literally noting holding our car on the side of the bridge before he pulled us.
Like a hot, the man rewound his cable and jumped back into his jeep. Dad tried to pay him, but he just shook his head “No” with his hand out as if to say, “Stop it.” He drove away, and while we pulled out pretty quickly right behind him, we never saw his taillights or any sign of him again. Was he human—or an angel—we don’t know! What we DO know is that God spared our lives that night and there’s really no good explanation as to why I’m still here, apart from God’s grace and work with me, even as a young man.
Miracles and the Abyss of Divorce
The difference between the abyss we nearly fell into that fateful night and the abyss of divorce is simply this–one involves free will and the other does not.
Plummeting off that bridge would NOT have been my choice. But I’ve seen many couples and individuals in a marriage choose to give up–to plummet into divorce while their partner prayed for a miracle. Was God being “stingy?” No. He simply chooses not to override the free moral agency of others.
Having said that, if you’re praying for a marriage miracle, is there no hope of God’s intervention? Furthermore, is there nothing else you can do but “wait and see?”
Actions: God’s and Your’s
What God will do, is put truth into the path of a spouse headed toward divorce. He’ll speak to them through His Spirit. He’ll put people in their path who can speak to their hurt and bring healing–if he/she will receive it. I’ve watched this happen again and again.
Your job in this?
First, it’s to pray, pray and then keep on praying for your spouse. Next, it’s to take whatever steps you can. I turned the wheel, hit the brakes, and shifted down into first gear during our terrifying mud slide event. None of this stopped us, but I know I did all that I could. Furthermore, I know God took over at that point and, I believe, saved us. Part of the reason for that is that we had prayed before we left and, knowing my mother, he was praying the entire trip–especially since I was driving!
God rescued us. And, He can do the same for you and your spouse…if you’re both willing.
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