When I opened Messenger, I read the article title and my mouth dropped. Then, I proceeded to read the caption above the article, “Utter blasphemy!!!” At first glance I considered this a ‘click bait’ title. You know the catchy titles that may not be good reading, but they want you to read. As I began to read an eerie feeling came over me. All I could think was how unbelievable it was for anyone to use God as a cover for their own personal agenda. Below is the article of discuss.
I Divorced the Man God Told Me to Marry—& Here’s Why It’s ALL to the Glory of God…
“I knew without a doubt that God had sent him, that God had told me this was the man with whom I was to spend the rest of my life.”
By Dena Johnson
I am divorced, and it’s all to God’s glory!
Before you start throwing the stones in your hands, please hear me out.
I grew up with a firm foundation in Jesus Christ and a conservative denomination. I gave my heart and life to Christ at the age of six and vowed never to date anyone who didn’t make God his number one priority. When I felt a call to full-time ministry at the age of 10, I knew the path my life was on—and I never looked back.
As I grew, I watched in horror—with stones in my hands—as well-known Christians announced their divorces. I vowed never to listen to their music or sermons again. How could they ever break their vow and humiliate the name of Christ, especially while serving in full-time ministry?
In my last years of college, God brought a man into my life. I knew without a doubt that God had sent him, that God had told me this was the man with whom I was to spend the rest of my life. I entered my marriage with a solemn vow before God and man. Divorce was never an option in my mind
Through 15 years of marriage and three precious children, we had seen our share of ups and downs. I had devoted myself to being his helpmate, a co-minister at our church, a mother. Although our marriage was not perfect, it was good. He would counsel couples having marital problems and come home to tell me how blessed we were to have such a solid marriage.
On September 9, 2008, my life shattered when my husband was caught in an affair with a woman in our church. After my fair share of yelling, screaming and crying, my heart began to soften. I began to see this situation as an opportunity for God to be glorified, for Him to take a good marriage and make it a great marriage. I set my heart on forgiveness and reconciliation, and I prayed that God would open the doors to a new ministry.
For nearly a year, I worked and prayed. I endured untold pain and fear and hardship. I did everything within my power to keep the marriage together. In the end, I discovered that while it only takes one to walk away from a marriage, it takes two to keep it together. I could not save my marriage alone.
Now I was the object of scorn and condemnation. I was the one facing the angry mob holding the stones. I was the one who had humiliated Christ through a divorce.
I’ve asked God many times why He would tell me to marry a man who would cheat on me and not repent. I’ve reminded Him that I could have certainly found a man on my own who would do that. I’ve wondered why I should continue to walk in obedience if divorce was the blessing I received.
Although I know that God’s perfect will was for my marriage to survive, I have learned to factor in man’s free will. You see, God had a plan for my husband and I to have a great ministry, a great marriage. When my husband chose to walk in disobedience, God had a plan for reconciliation, a plan to receive the glory for a marriage repaired by the grace of God.
And, when my husband continued to walk in disobedience, God adjusted His plan once more. You see, now He wants to get the glory through my divorce.
I in no way argue that God wanted me to divorce. However, He did give me permission to divorce (Matthew 5:32). The important fact is that my response to my situation—even though it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to—can bring God glory. You see, God has taken my life and redeemed it. I went through a time of death, depression and despair when I lost my marriage. But, through God’s love and faithfulness, He has restored me to life. I have truly become a new person! My faith has grown immensely through the trials and tribulations of this life! I have a new hunger and thirst for Him that is beyond my greatest dream! He has taken the hurt and pain that I have suffered, and He is now leveraging them for His glory—as He opens doors for me to share the hope of a life renewed.
In John 11, we read the story of Jesus’ good friend Lazarus. Lazarus’ sisters sent Jesus an urgent message, telling him to come quickly.
When Jesus heard it, He said, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. John 11:4-6
Did you see that? When Jesus was called to heal his good friend, he didn’t rush to Lazarus’ side; instead, He stayed where He was for two more days. By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead and in the tomb for four days. Surely if Jesus had shown up in a timely manner, Lazarus would have never died!
But, Jesus said, “This is for the glory of God.”
You see, God could have shown up in my marriage. He could have prevented my divorce. He could have heard my relentless pleas. But, He allowed my husband to exert free will.
What did Jesus do when Mary, Lazarus’ sister, came to Him and fell at His feet? Jesus wept (John 11:35). He experienced the emotions of the situation, the pain of losing a dear friend.
What did my Savior do when my marriage crumbled? He wept with me. He cried over the hurt, the pain, the devastation. He cried for the lives impacted by our divorce. He cried over the broken vows.
Then, as only Jesus could do, He called for the stone over Lazarus’ tomb to be removed. His sister Martha protested. “But, Lord, his body is decaying! He stinks! We can’t do that!”
When I filed for divorce, people around me began to pick up their stones and accuse me of breaking my covenant, of humiliating the name of Christ. I walked in shame and condemnation. I had a heavy burden of guilt. I felt as if there was an overwhelming stench that surrounded me.
As the people obeyed Jesus and removed the stone from Lazarus’ grave, Jesus gave the command.
Then Jesus raised His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You heard Me. I know that You always hear Me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so they may believe You sent Me.” After He said this, He shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him and let him go.” John 11:41-44
After Jesus wept with me over the death of my dreams, He called me—the dead woman—to come forth. He proclaimed, “I am the resurrection and the life!” (John 11:25). He told me that He would resurrect my life, that He would take the death I had experienced and give me a new life. He told me that He would replace my heart of stone with one of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19). He told me that He would do something new (Isaiah 43:18-19). He told me that He would do something amazing in me so that He could do something amazing through me. He commanded me to remove the graveclothes of guilt and condemnation and to put them behind me.
As I continue to walk this path, I am amazed at the new life I have. My trials and tribulations have worked into me a new compassion for hurting people. While I certainly don’t recommend divorce, I am the first in line to offer a word of hope and encouragement to anyone walking through the pain. I no longer pick up my stones because I realize there’s always more to the story. My heart has a burning passion for purity and encouraging those whose lives have been ravaged by the storms of this life. My purpose in this life has become proclaiming the restoration that only God can bring!
It doesn’t matter what life throws at you: divorce, adultery, medical problems, financial ruin, addiction. It doesn’t matter whether the storm was heaped on you by someone else or by your own acts of disobedience. The only thing that matters is what you do with what life gives you. No matter what the situation, God can—and will—redeem it for His glory. You must simply choose to surrender to the Resurrection and the Life.
While divorce was not God’s perfect will for my life, I choose to let it be for His glory!
Thank you, Lord, for taking my life from the depths of the grave and breathing new life into me. Thank you for taking the failures of my past and using them to encourage others. Thank you for taking my divorce and using it for your glory!
About the Author: Dena Johnson is a single mom of three amazing kids. In her spare time, she is a Registered Nurse. She delights in taking the everyday experiences of life and turning them into biblical lessons for her children.
After reading the article I was led to the author’s Facebook page. It was not my intention to comment. After reading some of the comments regarding the article, it was evident she had supporters of her cause. Without hesitation, I began posting a comment. The first post was referring to Johnson speaking of her children seeing their mom have strength and courage. She wanted them to see her as being an overcomer.
“They also see one who could not weather the storm. This is my area of expertise. And I so agree with Peck. It is never my goal to down others but it is my goal to be a true representative of God. To do what God wills should be the goal of every Christian. What you have done has shown a great example to what having a form of godliness as you deny the power of the Holy One. You are helping others live a lukewarm life. It is my prayer that you and any who follow you test the spirit by the spirit to see if it is of God. Those who do not obey God are children of disobedience. God is a forgiving God and He will forgive anyone who removes iniquity from their heart. It is my deepest regret to see the lengths that people go through to justify their ungodly actions. We are to see the wrong and expose it. It is never right to call wrong right. I pray that God has mercy on your soul.”
The second post was my rebuttal to her defense for lack of understanding to her situation. The fact remains that if God is the head of your life and you do something outside of what He has ordained, then it is willfully sinning. God gets no glory out of anyone doing as they please, but He does get glory from one’s obedience to Him.
“I understand more than you could ever know. Because I stood my faith is greater, my love is pure, my hope is unshakeable, my prayers or powerful, and my testimony is more convincing. Yes, there was abuse and adultery. I chose to believe in the One who is faithful and for that my life is consecrated. Truth is so easily missed, pushed aside, and forgotten due to personal agenda. The word says all who live Godly through Christ shall suffer persecution. I am confident that God is able to complete the work which he starts. When He gives instruction, He doesn't change His mind. The word says, I am God I change not. If He said it He is able to perform it. Because I stood on His word I was able to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord in my life. Now that IS the way God can get the glory!”
Every blood washed, born again believer is a representative of Christ when they acknowledge, accept, and apply Him to their lives. As a spokesperson for God, we must represent Him well. In doing so, it also means to point out all faults that lead others away from God. There were comments before and after mine. As I thought more about what she said, I realized there was nothing anyone could say that would get her to see her wrong. This was a prime example of deceive and being deceived. (see 2 Timothy 3:13)
Titus 1:15-16 reads, Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
The pure are the blameless, the consecrated, and those who choose to do the will of the Father; be obedient. By her own admittance, “I entered my marriage with a solemn vow before God and man. Divorce was never an option in my mind.” A solemn vow is a sincere, firm oath. She made it before God. Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 reads, When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? She does not say that she was forced in any way to make this vow. It was a choice she made per what she believed was right, she says. Even God Himself did not force her to make it. But when she did she was bond to it. She would have done better not to make it at all. Now she seeks justification due to wanting a way out of being obedient to what she has said God had instructed her to do.
Because of her unbelief, she is impure and her thinking is also impure. She does openly declare a relationship with God, but what she has done shows her refusal to agree with His instructions. To say, “I in no way argue that God wanted me to divorce. However, He did give me permission to divorce (Matthew 5:32).” This is a contradictory statement. The verse she uses to justify her actions reads differently in many versions of the bible.
· Matthew 5:32 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
o 32 but I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
· Matthew 5:32 The Message (MSG)
o 31-32 “Remember the Scripture that says, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights’? Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are ‘legal.’ Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you’re responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you’re automatically an adulterer yourself. You can’t use legal cover to mask a moral failure.
· Matthew 5:32 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
o 32 but I say to you that everyone who [a]divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a [b]divorced woman commits adultery.
· Matthew 5:32 Good News Translation (GNT)
o 32 But now I tell you: if a man divorces his wife for any cause other than her unfaithfulness, then he is guilty of making her commit adultery if she marries again; and the man who marries her commits adultery also.
· Matthew 5:32 English Standard Version (ESV)
o 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
· Matthew 5:32 New International Version (NIV)
o 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Here you see six different versions of the same scripture and each of them have similarities as well as differences. Depending on the version she is using, which is very important, I can see how she feels justified. But when it comes to a defense one must pick the one that best suits what he/she is defending. This is exactly what she did. Matthew 19:3-9 and Mark 10:2-11 gives more details on the matter of divorce. Maybe she was not aware of these scriptures, therefore I will present them as evidence. It was Jesus who was speaking in each of the said verses. As for Matthew 5:32, He was teaching the multitudes and many matters were discussed. But in Matthew 19 and Mark 10, Jesus was speaking to Pharisees as they were attempting to test Him. Let’s look at these verses side by side:
The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. 3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
Here are some points of interest about the matter:
· It was Moses who permitted divorces, not God
· Following God’s instructions are more important than following Moses’ or anyone else’s
· Jesus brings to remembrance that from the beginning it was not so, there were no divorces from the beginning
· Fornication cannot be committed by a married person only a single, unmarried person, can fornicate
· Because God tells you to marry, you then become one and no man/person, can divide that
It appears there is more supporting information which proves divorce being an act permitted by man and not God. I want to make it clear to note that I do believe if anyone makes the choice to divorce without previous knowledge can be forgiven. When man changes what God has done and God set things back in order, the act thereafter is a transgression against God. To know that it is wrong to divorce then say God told you to do it causes one to lie, as this woman did.
God warns us in His word, Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter, Isaiah 5:20. In her article she used the story of Lazarus and by right I sure can see it as a useful testimony to her situation. But when an instrument is not used properly it can cause some problems. That’s exactly what happened in this instance. The recorded account of Lazarus lets us know, no matter how dead the situation is God can still bring life to it. It takes faith in God. Unfortunately, she lacked it then and to see this as a glorified moment for God, presently, shows her lack of faith thus far.
There is much more supporting evidence which comes from the word of God that does not favor her stance on the choice she has made. I was once told that people don’t want to stand anymore. Well, what I can say to that is: I did. Thus, my husband is not the same as he was. God’s word is true, so true that I see Him get the glory everyday as I tell my story and bring hope to the hopeless. To let all know there is a God who cares enough about you to mend your life, if you will only believe. I stood on the word of God through Holy Spirit as my life changed before my eyes. I saw what was around me and I felt the pain from it to. But as I was reminded of what Jesus endured for me, it was an honor to endure for Him to be glorified. Since that time, God has allowed me to minister to many who have needed encouraging during the labor pains as they give birth to the destiny God has for them.
Lead Moderator Addreine Young
There is a lady who made a video about the article. I have chosen to include it. Click here to view.