Can Remarriage Tell a Greater Redemption Story?
- Dawn Walker Founder and Director, Single Parent Missions
- 2015 2 Jan
“O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows.”
-Psalm 130:7 (NLT)
Recently I came across this post a friend shared on the morning of his wedding day:
“Today is the day. I get to marry Tracy. The one whom my soul loves. Today is a new beginning and I am so thankful for the grace God gives that makes this day possible. I am so blessed to get to marry this incredible lady whose heart is even more beautiful than her face. Beautiful inside and out. I have seen her inhale pain then exhale grace and love in the toughest times. Can't wait to see what God does with us in the future! Thanks everyone for celebrating this day with us! I wish we could have invited each one of you to the wedding. Watch for pictures tonight.”
I’m pretty sure this is the most beautiful wedding-day declaration I’ve ever heard. Very likely this was not a first marriage. It spoke of pain. Grace. New beginnings. Which really got me thinking. I don’t know much about this couples’ story, but here’s what I do know.
The best marriages tell a story of redemption.
Follow me here…if marriage is supposed to mirror Christ and the Church, shouldn’t grace and redemption be the primary storyline of every marriage? Isn’t the core of the gospel the truth that Jesus died to give us a second chance? To redeem all that was dead and lost? To forgive us for our role in the wreckage? And to trade in our sadness and shame for everlasting joy and eternal honor?
I daresay a great many marriages in the Church today tell a different story. A story of disinterest, a story of loneliness, a story of self-gratification, a story of betrayal, or worst of all a story of cruelty and abuse.
So at the risk of setting off the anti-divorce firing squad, I am one who believes in second marriages. Not all the time. Not because I think it’s okay for someone to “fall out of love” and leave their spouse to pursue someone else. Not if the second marriage is built on sin or compromise. But when they can tell a real redemption story, I think second marriages are some of the most God-glorifying unions. I’ve had the privilege of witnessing several, and there’s something about them that hits a cord very close to God’s heart.
Consider this, what is more Christ-like than when a godly man steps in and marries a woman whose husband abused her or deserted her, and he becomes a spiritual father to her children? Isn’t he embodying a God who calls himself a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows (Psalm 68:5)? I am watching this happen in a friend’s life right now and it’s a wonderful thing to behold. Her children, who have never experienced a loving and engaged father, are now getting to see a man treat their mother honorably, court her, propose to her, and invest in them like they were his own.
That’s not to say with remarriage there are never difficulties. Overcoming past mistakes and blending new families can be a very complex and delicate process. In fact, I would argue that remarriage and becoming a step-parent requires even more “dying to self” than parenting your own kids. But with God’s grace covering it, and his redemptive love at the center, I am convinced that remarriage can have his wholehearted stamp of approval.
Scripture can back me here. Two of my favorite redemption stories involving second marriages are David and Abigail and Boaz and Ruth.
In the first story (1 Samuel 25), Abigail is a “sensible and beautiful” woman married to a “crude and mean” man named Nabal. After Nabal snubbed soon-to-be King David, David took off with 400 of his men to slaughter Nabal and his entire household. Alerted to the crisis, and behind her husband’s back, Abigail took food and gifts and went out to intercept David. She fell at his feet, accepted all blame and urged him to pay no heed to her foolish husband.
What compelled her to take such a risk? I suspect that being married to such a difficult man had driven her into a deep intimacy with God, which afforded her a security that trumped any fear of her husband. As it turned out, David heard Abigail’s plea, recognized the soft voice of wisdom and called off his attack. Ten days later, God himself struck Nabal dead, setting Abigail free of her first husband and avenging David.
I love this! But God’s not done. Guess who quickly decides to make the wise and newly widowed Abigail his wife? Yep, David. Now tell me that God never intervenes to end an oppressive marriage, uphold a partner who has their heart set on him, and offer them a redemptive second-chance marriage to a God-honoring spouse.
Next, in the Book of Ruth, Ruth is a poor, Moabite widow whose husband has died. In those days widows had little hope for survival except to remarry or become a prostitute. But Ruth chose to trust the Lord and faithfully stayed by her mother-in-law’s side, probably because she was a spiritual mentor. As a result, God not only brought her a kind and generous husband in Boaz, but this second marriage provides her with a son and heir. More importantly, this remarriage is the one that grafts her—an outsider—directly into the lineage of Christ. Talk about redemption! Boaz is even referred to in scripture as a “Kinsman-redeemer,” one who rescues, restores and vindicates all that was lost.
Given these examples, how can we deny that God sometimes uses remarriage to tell some of the greatest redemption stories? There is a reason he commanded “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” instead of “Thou shalt not divorce” or “Thou shalt not remarry.” Our Heavenly Father always was and always will be more interested in showing off the great story of his redeeming love than in condemning those who desire to have a second chance at a God-glorifying marriage and family.
Dawn Walker is a single mom and lives with her 11-year-old son in Grand Rapids, MI. She recently released her first book, The Daddy Gap, and is the Founder and Director of Single Parent Missions, an organization dedicated to raising up single parent families to transform generations. To subscribe to Dawn’s daily Hope Notes for single parents, visit www.singleparentmissions.com.
Publication date: January 2, 2015