Where is God when life goes wrong? Where is Jesus when what we want is in line with God’s plan and life still falls apart.
Maybe you’re suffering from betrayal, abandonment, and divorce and are wondering why God allowed it to happen. Maybe you’re stuck feeling abandoned by your husband and by God. Maybe you’re thinking that, if God hates divorce and loves you, He should have done more to stop this wrecking ball that’s collided with your life and His plans!
Holy Week Shows God Does Not Abandon the Divorced
Palm Sunday parallels to Marriage and divorce are profound. The priest begins outside the Church. Before heading to the altar, he reads Matthew 21 reminding us of honor and praise given to Jesus by the crowds. Your relationship most likely also began outside the Church, and, before heading to the altar, you too were probably honored and praised by your husband (Palm Sunday Readings).
In the longest Mass of the year, things fall apart quickly. In Marriage, pain has no time stamp.
The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 22 where King David cries out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” In Mass, we don’t read the entire Psalm, but it is worth reading on your own. The depths of agony felt by the great and favored King David mirror what many divorced feel.
We empathize with King David, but the Gospel of Matthew Chapters 26 and 27 bring us face to face with what the Lord suffers. Judas, Jesus’ beloved companion, chooses a false god over true Love and betrays Jesus with a kiss. The intimacy is not lost on those betrayed similarly.
Betrayal Strikes Beyond Judas just as Divorce Strikes Beyond the Married Couple
Jesus asks the Apostles to keep watch with him, but they fall asleep. In divorce, friends must continue their lives. They cannot keep watch with you every moment of every day. In the end, it is you, not they, who must make decisions and deal with sorrow, “even to death.” In #divorce some turn their backs on you as Peter did to Jesus. You must still decide to move ahead in God's plan.
In the reading, those in power kept trying to destroy Jesus.
The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin
kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus
in order to put him to death,
but they found none,
though many false witnesses came forward.
Just as your ex may keep persecuting you or keep submitting false testimony against you, Jesus kept having to face this until those willing to misrepresent Jesus’ words were found.
Jesus is dragged before the courts and humiliated. He is stripped of His title, human power, and dignity. He is displayed as weak and broken. His worldly possessions are divided up. Loved ones are forced to spend time in the hands of those who betray and persecute Him.
How like divorce this is! The existence of your ex may persecute you. He may submit false testimony to the courts, to friends and family, to the other woman, and to himself!
You may have been dragged before the courts and humiliated. You may have been stripped of your title as wife and sole mother when an alien “step-mother” enters your children’s lives. You may feel stripped of power and dignity and displayed as weak and broken. Your home, finances, and all worldly possessions may be divided. Loved ones are ripped from your arms and forced to spend time in the hands of one who betrays and persecutes.
Even in a so-called amicable divorce, some suffering is tangible; where is God in that suffering?
God is with you in divorce. He is with you always. He knows your pain because He feels your pain. Jesus walks the walk of the betrayed.
Could God stop divorce? Absolutely! Jesus told those who would fight for him in the Garden that God could provide, “at this moment more than twelve legions of angels” if He wanted. God could do the same for you. Instead, God provides angels not to rescue Jesus, but to comfort Him.
Why are some rescued and others comforted? Why are some Marriages saved and others abandoned? I don’t know, but I do know Jesus is in divorce with you as surely as He felt you in Him every agonizing step of Holy Week over 2000 years ago. Jesus submitted to His Father’s Will to give you dignity, hope, and a purpose greater than fighting for child support, access to retirement, or even the love of your beloved, betraying Judas.
I believe Jesus sees in you something He does not see in all people. I believe He sees, especially in this painful moment, opportunity for you alone. I believe He sees in you potential others don’t yet have. I believe God sends angels to comfort because sometimes comfort is greater than rescue. I believe God can use all things for Good when you turn to Him.
It’s up to you to bear your cross and embrace what Jesus sees. He will never force you to embrace opportunity, potential, or His Good. I believe He waits for you, but what I believe is not important.
What do you believe?
For mistakes that lead to divorce, wise input from Venerable Fulton Sheen, and questions to bring clarity to God’s role in your divorce, sign up for the Embracing Joy newsletter below and check Saturday’s edition.