Friday, September 5, 2008

#6 Divergent Paths

"In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:6

One of the most difficult strains that can be placed on a marriage or other significant relationship is distance. I think back to the time that I had to be away from my family when I was deployed to Iraq and it brings to mind some very sad memories. I was called up to deploy in November of 2005 and left for my training to prepare for deployment in April of 2006. We spent two months in Camp Shelby, MS and then left for Iraq on June 8, 2006. I will not get into the details of those many months at this point, but there will be more to come on that someday soon. One thing that I began to notice among the other Soldiers after a while is that many of them did not communicate with their families very regularly. Yes, there were lots of ways that we could stay in touch with folks back home. On the base in Mosul, Iraq there was a computer and phone center that was run off of the satellites and you could wait your turn to use them. We could also get Iraqi cell phones and buy pre-paid minutes from the vendors on the base. I also noticed that the Soldiers who did not stay in touch with family had a much harder time dealing with events that happened while we were there. As you may imagine, there are lots of bad things that happen overseas in a combat zone and it is imperative to find someone you can talk to about it so that it does not get all bottled up inside of you and lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I did my best to encourage some of the Soldiers to talk with people and to process the events they experienced; some did and many others did not. Another thing that ended up happening was that many Soldiers' life experience began to become something very different from that of their friends and family back home. The end result was that Soldiers grew away from their friends and families and found it very difficult to reintegrate themselves back into civilian and family life.

I wonder how many of you reading this tonight have allowed a similar event to happen to you. Yes, you may not have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and experienced the horrors of war, but perhaps you have allowed other things to crowd in and now you find yourself going down a much different path than your spouse. Sometimes it is work that contributes to this and other times it is having very different goals than your significant other. Whatever it may be that has allowed you and your special someone to grow apart it is something that you need to address. Unless you have a desire to see your relationships fail-and I pray that you are emotionally healthy enough that that is not your goal-then I would encourage you to talk with those you love and make sure that you are on the same path spiritually, financially, emotionally, and otherwise. It may take some work, but in the end I believe that you will be very happy that you did not allow your lives to go down very different paths that diverge into separate lives. We are told in 3 John 1:2 through John that the Lord desires that we prosper and be in good health so I know that the Lord does not want us to live our lives in such a way that we grow apart from the ones to whom we have made covenant relationships. Marriage of course is the primary application to this but the same can be said for the relationships with our friends and family. Why not make an effort this coming week to mend some fences. Why not pray and ask the Lord if you and those that you love have begun or already grown apart, and if the answer is "yes" then pray more and ask the Lord to help rejoin those divergent paths. I think we all could avoid a lot of heartache if we turned everything over to God and let Him not only be our Savior but our Lord as well.

Heavenly Father,
We come to you tonight with hearts that long to rejoined to Yours. We are tired of living with broken relationships and we want the paths of our lives to be rejoined with the paths of those we love so dearly. We pray that You would be the glue dear Lord that will bond us all closer together that we can be a support to one another as the trials of life come upon us. Thank You for this Sabbath dear Lord and we each one live our lives to honor You in all that we do. It is in the name of Jesus that we pray, Amen.

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