Parents represent in a priestly and prophetic way, for good or ill, Christ’s attitude toward their children (Ephesians 6:1–4). These texts are God speaking, and naming violence that you’ve experienced.

What do we see in the texts we’ve looked at so far? We all fight through adversity, of whatever kind, so that we can fight for the weak down the road. If we had divorced parents as a child (and faint, because it’s too much for us), it is so that we can rescue others when we’ve been made strong. I don’t presume to know your situation, what your parents are like, or what your family has gone through.

In the end (and even in the midst) of your healing path awaits a unique strength that will not only deliver you, but will allow you to carry others through the same journey, fighting the same voices, healing the same wounds, building the same faith and perseverance. All I know is that it must be extremely painful, and that God knows your pain.

More than losing myself, though, I lost the ability to relate to my heavenly Father. Right now, we’re just focusing on what you (and I) experienced, and how you can heal.

I certainly didn’t think that God had anything to say, or even cared, about the mangled, overturned vehicle in our living room. This isn’t meant to judge divorced parents, or to deter parents from getting divorced for legitimate reasons (abuse or adultery).

Ernest Hemingway wrote, “The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” To put it tritely, experiencing the divorce of parents is just really, really hard. By his grace, it will not destroy you, but make you stronger (Isaiah 42:3–5).

Paul realized that he went through an affliction “so that [he] may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

It will, of course look different for different sons and daughters, but no one can deny that the emotional and relational bleeding needs attention, likely long after the papers are filed. Years later, because I didn’t have the resources to work through things as a nine-year-old boy, certain forms of brokenness seem native and normal to me.

A chorus of adults with long-divorced parents will dismiss in unison: I totally get that. Divorce “attacks the self, because the self is formed within the belonging and meaning provided by the family.

And so, in divorce, parents communicate a view of God’s love that speaks more powerfully than words. But lies are powerful when they have good material to work with. My eye is on child.” We see God’s protective care for children of divorce. His specialty is in redeeming — in healing, restoring, and strengthening.

It is important to recognize, then, that there will always be a painful proverb in the back of your head that has its root in that experience. Divorce is a fertile ground for lies of justified self-hatred. We see the structures that he has set up to care for the weak and his grief over the violence that breaking these structures does. His forte is in trauma, and in complex pain — not always in fixing or explaining right away, but in being-with (Isaiah 43:2). The ‘father’ pictures in Scripture have never been anything but painful for you.

While not the main point of the text (primarily speaking about marriage between a believer and unbeliever), we can note three things: Malachi argues, “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless” (Malachi ).