Yesterday, I sat in an attorney’s office with my friend, a mediator, and her legal counsel. Laptops, paper piles, and notepads littered the tabletop. An expansive window provided a view of gray skies and accumulating rain pellets. The gloomy weather mirrored the somber mood in the room.
My friend had hoped for a different outcome to her marriage. She’d prayed for healing, miraculous interventions, and shocking transformations, but conditions remained the same. Almost two decades of marriage were reduced to numerical values and percentages.
I sat by my friend and grieved while she grieved. What words are best said to a friend when her world is ensnarled in turmoil? I’m sorry about your divorce seemed trite. I understand seemed insensitive. You’re better off without him seemed harsh. Ultimately, I decided to serve as a silent support and prayerful presence. My purpose was not to be vocal, but reassuring and consoling.
The next day, I chatted with my brother about the mediation process. My brother underwent his own divorce mediation a year earlier. “Through your divorce and my friend’s divorce, I’ve learned life just isn’t fair,” I declared.
I waited for my brother’s “Amen,” as he had experienced a tremendous amount of heartache and hurt over the course of the last few years. Of anyone, my brother should be cheerleading my declaration.
Instead, my brother cleared his throat and began. “I think you’re half right. Life isn’t fair, but you left out the second part of that statement,” he replied. “Life isn’t fair, but God redeems our pain.”
Then, my brother recounted writing a recent document, six pages filled with ways God provided for him within the last few years. He chronicled people, phrases, and provisions that appeared at just the right time. With his words and stories, he recorded numerous examples of how God had been good to him. All the time.
I rethought my role as a friend to those suffering. In the last few years, I’ve served as a confidant and companion to a few friends and family walking through divorce. It’s been a privilege to hold the hand of a loved one battling wounds. Yet, I’ve been more apt to settle into the injustice rather than recognize the redemption. How many God moments have gone unidentified and unappreciated?
In the Bible, God promises He can create beauty from everything, even dirty, tattered ashes. God can do the same for my friend facing a fractured marriage. Maybe the marriage will not be stitched back together, but beautiful, God-orchestrated redemption still shines through the dust.
“Thank you for reminding me that injustice is not the end of the story,” I thanked my brother. “Redemption has the final say.”