Almost 9 years ago, my beautiful wife and I found ourselves at a terrible impasse in our relationship and we separated for two and a half years. I won't go into why this happened, other than to say that I was primarily at fault in the issues that led to our separation. This isn't the time or the place to go into the details of that ordeal - but I can say that without trying to I simultaneously discovered my immense need for God's mercy, the incredible power of grace, and the unyielding strength of the marriage bond. It's what God has joined together.
While this situation was not ideal (and I don't recommend that anyone try it), it was used in God's sovereign plan to produce some wonderful and needed effects in me. Today, I stand committed to my wife and family in a way that even shocks me sometimes.
It is difficult to describe the way my faithful Father, in utter and underserved kindness, stood by me during that time. But what happened inside of me was nothing short of a revelation of divine love -- covenant love. This love was described poetically in the words of Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness." (Heb. HESED, mercy)
I was far away, but He appeared to me. The distance seemed infinite, but the cords of His mercy were long enough to reach me - and their pull was irresistible. I was dealing with something much more powerful than I knew: GOD'S ETERNAL LOVE.
One of the things God used to sustain me and draw me during those turbulent days was the music of Canadian singer/songwriter Steve Bell. To this day, some of Steve's songs reduce me to a soggy pile of cardboard whenever I hear them. This is a video of one such song, with scenes from the Visual Bible as an introduction.
NOTICE OF DISCLAIMER: Although I love Steve's music, there's admittedly a deep theological difference between us. I don't endorse his more liberal/emergent/liberation-theology leanings. However, I'm not out to be his critic - I'm a grateful and concerned fan of his gifts. I've found that God commonly uses people whose theology I find unacceptable to accomplish His purposes, and He does so without asking for my permission or approval beforehand. Prerogatives of Deity.