by Robert Earl Houston
I would not want to wish divorce on my worst enemy.
Divorce is the silent killer in the black community and for pastors and ministers it is a contagion that has no equal in its deadly affect. As a pastor who has gone through divorce, I can testify of what it does to the minister, to the spouse, and sadly, to the church family.
Divorce can sway previously highly regarded opinions.
Divorce can create unrealistic circumstances.
Divorce can make people investigative instead of prayerful.
Divorce can make people lose sight of the bigger picture.
Divorce can create collateral damage.
There are those in the Body of Christ that would go to extremes about this issue, but I am discovering a shift in attitudes, especially among African-Americans because we have seen friends and family go through divorce – it is no pretty picture.
However, yesterday I celebrated seven years of marriage with my lovely bride, Jessica G. Houston. We spent an afternoon together, topping it off with purchasing a dining room set (that we fell in love with), dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and then watching the Presidential Debate and the conclusion of the San Francisco Giants winning of the National League Pennant.
I’m thanking because I have peace. I don’t say that lightly – in seven years of marriage, I cannot recall five minutes of arguments. Maybe it’s because of our ages (I’m 52 and my wife is 40 something) or experiences or how we watched the ultimate ministry power couple (our pastor and wife) Barton and Carolyn Harris model what a happy marriage looks like. Whatever the reason, we have been blessed.
It’s just the two of us. We have no family in the immediate area. Jessie’s family is in Sacramento and my family is in Oregon. Other than that, we have relatives in Georgia, Louisiana, and other parts of the nation (through the Jackson Family). We have no kids and we have each other.
If the Lord should call me home tonight, everything that I’ve accumulated in this life goes to my wife only. And vice versa. I’ve made sure that she will not become destitute at my passing and because there’s just Jessie and I, there won’t be any probate issues to worry about.
I adore her family and she adores my family. We share in our excitement about what God is doing in both of our families. It’s a blessing to have my mom still living and her mom and dad still living. We are grateful for our siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc.
Again, my point is that you can recover. My ministry is at a zenith – I’ve never been this productive, never felt this kind of anointing, never produced quality like I’m producing, never been this effective – because once God recovers you, He does so to establish you in a new dimension of not just a church, but in a personal relationship with Him.
I don’t know who I may be talking to – but I suggest that you allow God to recover you. If you’re pastoring and going through a divorce, God retains the right to restore you even when colleagues, members and friends say you won’t make it.
Even if you’re not in ministry – divorce is not the end of the world. God doesn’t operate via calendar, He operates via seasons. At the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon, I used to produce the bulletin and I found a phrase that I put on the bulletin every Sunday: “God never closes one door, without opening another.”
You can recover.