Friday, May 11, 2012

"where there is darkness, light" - Prayer of St. Francis series

Today's guest blogger is Joe Pote. As a student of the Bible since early childhood, Joe was literally raised in church, attending multiple church services and Bible studies each week. Having also endured the devastation of a failed marriage, Joe combines a sound understanding of biblical principles with personal experience of the issues and concerns of believers who have experienced divorce. He would like for you to visit his website



I sat huddled at my desk, face pressed into palms supported by elbows propped on desktop, staring into the darkness of my own hands…feeling the darkness pressing in from all sides.  
The work day was ended.  It was time to go home, a brief ten minute walk from the office.  Yet, I lingered, dreading home…knowing the unfixable problems waiting there…praying that God would show me what to do.
My four beautiful children waited at home, bright lights in my life, who I was always pleased to see.  But their mother also waited there, with a cartful of unsolvable issues to add to my already overburdened load.
It was the summer of 1994, and my wife had recently announced her intention to leave our marriage of ten years.  She said she didn’t love me anymore…wasn’t sure she ever truly had…now she was pursuing a relationship with someone else.
How had it come to this?  How had all the bright hopes, dreams, visions, plans, work, counseling and prayers come to such dark and desolate fruition as this?
It wasn’t the first time our marriage had floundered…but it was the first time the situation appeared hopeless…the first time I knew I had done all I could do and been found insufficient to resolving the problems.
The word divorce shouldn’t even be in a Christian’s vocabulary!
God hates divorce!
The words of a former pastor rang loud in my ears, as I clenched my eyes closed…trying to shut out the darkness pressing in on all sides. 
Remember the statistics of problems for children raised in broken homes!
The best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.
As the authoritative words of trusted men swirled through my mind, I began adding my own to the cacophony of accusations.
Some Christian you are!  Where is your faith now?  What a failure!  
The oppressive darkness closed thick and heavy, pressing down upon me, crushing my soul.
Jesus, help me!
Tears spilling down my face, I cried out to God for help I didn’t really expect to receive, but desperately needed.
Knock!  Knock!
I thought I was all alone, that everyone else had gone for the day.  Yet someone was rapping lightly on my office door.  Reaching for a tissue, I quickly dried my eyes and composed myself.  “Come in,” I called softly, not quite trusting my voice not to crack.
The door swung open as Rob shyly stepped inside my office.  Rob was a quiet young man who worked for me, in the Engineering Department.  Although I didn’t know Rob well, I respected him as both a cheerful worker and a brother in Christ.
Hesitantly, Rob handed me a typed sheet of paper.
I felt God telling me to give this to you.  It’s a poem I wrote a few days ago, after seeing you sitting in your office looking burdened…like you are now.
I read the poem… about crawling through a tunnel of confused swirling darkness searching for light…about Jesus leading and guiding us throughout the journey…leading us into the light of His love and hope.
I read the poem, and, with tears again running down my face, I hugged Rob, thanking him for his beautiful gift…the gift of light in the midst of darkness!
I walked home that evening with a lighter step than I had for many days.  My circumstances had not changed, but the oppressive darkness had been lifted by the light of God’s love and hope.
One small act of kindness can make a world of difference!
Lord, please use me in the lives of others the way you used Rob in my life…to shine the light of Your love and hope in times of darkness.  
…where there is darkness, light…
Who do you know in need of a little light?

(To read other posts in the Prayer of St. Francis series, click here.)

17 comments:

  1. Wow! I needed to read this this morning! I've been in contact with three couples just in the past few days that are looking at divorce or separation. Sometimes I feel I give them so little help. I so much want to shine God's love into their lives and give them hope...

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    1. Esther, speaking from my own experience even very small gestures can have a tremendous impact. Sometimes, just knowing someone else recognized my pain and took the time to say so made a huge difference.

      A failed marriage is such a painful and disorienting experience!

      Also, just being reminded that God's plans don't end with the marriage...God still has a plan for each of our lives, and His plans aren't going to be anulled or thrown off track because of a divorce.

      Thank you, so much, for wanting to be an encouragement to those experiencing a period of darkness!

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    2. Yes, we are never alone, even when we think we're on the outs with God.

      Esther -- thank you for your service!

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  2. when God seems the fartherest away--that is when He is really the closest!!~Jesus has promised to NEVER leave us nor forsake us--stand on that when the darkness comes, and it will come!!

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    1. Amen!

      So good to know Christ will never leave us, nor forsake us!

      Also very thankful for the people He puts in my path for encouragement!

      Thank you, Tom!

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    2. Tom -- so true. Even when we think God isn't there, he's just waiting for us to take down our blinders of not feeling worthy and see that we are in His embrace.

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  3. Thanks so much for sharing your "messy" story, Joe. The truth is, we all have one--you're not alone. And I'm so glad God prompted this co-worker to encourage you, because now you've encouraged us as well! :)

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    1. Hey, Beth! I'm glad you found your way over to this post.

      I actually thought of my post, here, when I read your post this morning, on Messy Marriage.

      Yes, life gets very messy at times. I am so thankful for God's redemption and encouragement!

      Blessings to you!

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  4. God takes small acts of kindness and grows beautiful results. Even in your raw pain, the grace of God is shown.

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    1. "Even in your raw pain, the grace of God is shown."

      Yes, so very true, Pamela!

      In fact...if you think about it...it is only in raw pain that God's grace can truly be known in its full beauty.

      Much as a light can only be truly appreciated in darkness...

      Blessings to you!

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  5. So glad God used Rob to shine His light and love into your heart and now He is using you to do the same...Blessings, Joe :)

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    1. It encourages us to listen to God's promptings, doesn't it. Imagine what would've happened if Rob hadn't paused and listened? Joe -- you are blessed to have such people in your life!

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    2. Yes, I am very blessed!

      Two of God's greatest blessings in this life, I believe, are to see God use someone else to reflect His glory in my life...and to see God use my life to reflect His glory in someone else's life.

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  6. You are a light, Joe! Thank you for the ways you encourage others by sharing your story.

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    1. Thank you, Laura!

      That means more to me than you know...

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  7. Similar to what I walked through. Ended up divorced, which I never wanted, but He told me to get out--b/c the kids needed protection, and I was headed for serious health issues from the stress, even though I was only 38. A year later He gave me my dear husband... we are celebrating our 27th Dating Anniversary tomorrow. And we have been joyful most of the time and serving the Lord separately and together all of these years in so many ways. I could never have imagined this blessing. And even though my former husband was also a Christian, he couldn't seem to get past physical and emotional trauma and refused counseling. My dear one does whatever is needed to make sure he's walking with the Lord in any way possible. I'm extremely blessed!! And I truly try to be a blessing.

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  8. Caryjo,

    Glad you stopped by! I really enjoyed the post on your blog, this morning, about finding your Bible a continent away.

    Yes, the situation I described in this post wound up in a divorce, seven years later...after counseling reconciliation etc. Long story, but I'm glad it's behind me, thankful for God's closeness throughout, thankful for His redemption, and thankful for the beautiful godly wife He has given me, now.

    Blessings to you and yours!

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Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Blessings to you and yours.