A Plan I Didn’t Know About

If you don’t believe in God or any sort of divine plan, you may not grab hold of this post too tightly.  That’s OK, and I hope you keep reading. You still may see some things in a new light. At the very least, I hope you can see there just may be available grace to your recovery that you’re not truly aware of yet.

I lived in a secret for over two years. A public personality, alleged to be of superb moral character, only to be exposed literally overnight, disappointing a large sea of people. Relationships Samantha and I had built for over 12 years were seemingly gone and dissolved in an instant. To this day, I’m still somewhat amazed by how rapidly we were isolated.  

When I was about 27 years old, I began to pastor and speak at several churches across the state.  While doing some fundraising, I came across a gentleman in his late 50’s who was a very high profile leader in one of the largest Christian denominations in the country who heard me speak and had nothing but affirming and encouraging words to say. He went on to mention that I reminded him of a certain pastor who once held crusades and, though he wasn’t Billy Graham, was gifted in his own right. Everyone at the table knew who he was talking about. He even expressed a desire to mentor me in my gifting and speaking. But he had one warning. He said “Though you remind me of this person, do not turn out like him.” I was stunned and obviously said “Well, what did he do?” He looked me right in the eye and said, “He cheated on his wife and lost everything.” I laughingly excused such behavior. At 27, I assure you I had no desire to cheat on Samantha at any level.

But here I was, 10 years later and every friend, every pastor, every employee, every accountability partner I had, vanished. I literally had nowhere to turn. It was just a week after discovery, and I was suicidal. (This was months before we would eventually come to meet Rick Reynolds and his team.) At this point we met with two therapists who were clueless on how to help and described me as the worst case they’d ever seen; almost sociopathic.  

Hopeless, broke, and suicidal, I was in my back yard praying late into the evening. I remembered the story of the gentleman who I had heard was just like me. He had cheated and lost everything. 

Say what you will about what voice it was, but I felt the urge to call him and see if he’d talk to me.

Somehow a stranger who I had never met seemed like a comforting friend I could talk to who wouldn’t shame me, hate me, or yell at me. Then again, who knew where this man was mentally, emotionally or spiritually. 

Thanks to the internet, I found his name and reached out immediately. I had to trick his secretary into giving me his personal email address, but no matter what she was not giving me his phone number. I emailed him and shared who I was and the story behind me reaching out, and he agreed to talk to me on the phone. That same day we spent an hour on the phone and low and behold, yes, he’d lost everything.

Except his wife.

And his faith.

And his calling.

Within a few days, Samantha and I would drive three states away to be with them and spend time with them. With a church of several thousand, and a staff too big to count, they opened up their home to us and began to mentor us. They were absolutely instrumental in our early recovery and were the very voices that kept us from separating early on and from believing the therapists who said I was “the worst they had ever seen and Samantha was best to divorce me and move on.” To this day they are great friends and an example of what we did not see coming…but God did.

Isn’t it funny, yet comforting, that some 10 or 12 years before my fall, the Lord knew to plant that name in my mind? To know He saw it coming and knew it was going to happen, yet still loved me and cared enough for me to give me a plan, is awe inspiring. To know he had provision for Samantha and I to find hope, moves me in ways I find hard to describe.

I hope today you’ll realize you too are not alone. You too have provision for your recovery. You too have a plan available for healing, even if you don’t see it now. It’s not a guarantee your spouse will cooperate, but it is good solid comfort that there is hope for you too. There is a God who loves you and cares for you and will meet you right in the middle of your pain.

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a beautiful story of the

a beautiful story of the unfathomable love of God, who loves us so completely and unconditionally. thanks for sharing this- really an encouragement and a bright spot in my day. You (and I, among others here) had a great fall. Yet God is not washing His hands of us...He is continuing to remake our hearts anew. everyday. I am so humbled and grateful

Agreed

I understand completely. When my wife left me, and I discovered later that she was having an affair with the same partner she had one with 20 years previously, I about lost my mind. To keep from alienating her completely and to give us a chance, I had to go into solitary confinement. Only a few close friends new about it, and some were saying "Move on already." Very few thought we had a chance in hell of surviving this as a couple. But when my future son-in-law asked me for my daughter's hand in marriage, I probed his courage and conviction and asked him specifically, "Will you fight for your marriage, even if she (my daughter) wants to someday end it?". He answered affirmatively and with conviction, and I gave him my blessing. How then could I move on when my wife seemingly wanted to end our marriage? Did I have the courage and conviction to fight for it? I saw our marriage as blessed by God even if my wife swore she lied saying her vows, and I was not going to be the one to end it. If she chose, I would work for it as long as it still existed. We are still together three years later, and though things are not perfect, and not as good as I once thought, I feel we are heading in the right direction, and hope we can continue. Thanks, Samuel, for your story.

Very Good Samual

Very good story. I've had a similar experience on many levels. Though my ex wife refused to work through our issues and we've divorced, I still feel God has my back and is watching over me in all this. I don't doubt God. I'm sure he has a great plan. Though it's so hard to see right now.

please continue writing!

I've loved your comments and feel very inspired by your honesty and your depth of perception and then I read you are a pastor! WOw - I love that God had me following your posts. My husband is a pastor and is in denial about his emotional affair with his senior pastor. THank you for giving me hope and to know it's been done. I wish you could mentor him. . . .

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