Issues and Answers

God's Awesome Grace In Divorce

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Richard D'Avanzo


Series Code: IAA

Program Code: IAA000221

00:29 Hello, I'm Shelley Quinn, and welcome again
00:31 to Issues and Answers. This is a program where we
00:34 discuss current issues and the Bible answers.
00:37 What God can do for us to make these issues
00:41 better in our life. I want to start off
00:44 today's program with one of my favorite scriptures
00:47 and it comes from Hebrews 13 and verse 20.
00:49 And Paul is starting a prayer in verse 20 talking
00:54 about the God of peace, but let me read to you
00:57 what he is saying in verse 21. He is saying now
00:59 may the God of peace strengthen, complete
01:03 and perfect you and make you what you ought to be
01:07 and equip you with everything good that you may
01:11 carry out His will, while He Himself works in you
01:15 and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight,
01:19 through Jesus Christ our Lord. You know when he think of this,
01:24 isn't it a wonderful promise and a wonderful truth
01:27 to understand, that the God of peace is the one
01:31 who is quipping us, working out his Will in us.
01:35 And he wants us to totally depend on what he is going
01:39 to do in us. And our guest today is not
01:43 only a doctor, he is a doctor of PhD,
01:48 I should say, in Christian psychology
01:51 he teaches at the Florida Christian University.
01:54 He is also the author of wonderful book called
01:58 When the Vow Breaks, and this is the book
02:01 about divorce, it's a book about the pain
02:05 and the healing that God brought to him through
02:07 his own personal experience. Please welcome with me,
02:11 Dr. Richard D'Avanzo. Thank you. Richard,
02:15 it is so good now, I feel like we are
02:17 already old friends, because I had the opportunity
02:20 to interview you on a 3ABN Today Program.
02:24 And I was very impressed with your work.
02:27 Thank you very much, I praise God for that.
02:29 Amen, now for those of our audience
02:32 who did not get to see the previous program
02:34 Tell me just a little bit about how this book came into being.
02:40 What happened in your life that caused you
02:42 to write a book about divorce and finding hope,
02:46 healing and forgiveness when a marriage ends.
02:49 Well, I suppose a lot of pain, loneliness, depression
02:53 those kind of things that most people go through,
02:56 in fact I don't know any that don't go through that,
02:59 when they go through a divorce. And it was during those times
03:03 that I began to just make little notes and put them down,
03:08 because I didn't believe what was happening to me,
03:10 after 30, 35 years of marriage it was a shock.
03:14 I absolutely did not expect it. And so, when I got out
03:19 and came to Florida after the divorce,
03:22 I decided that I would want to do what God wanted me to do.
03:27 And of course sometimes he wants us to do things that
03:30 we don't think about. And that was to go back
03:33 to school. And so I went back and started
03:36 working on a Masters in Christian Counseling
03:39 and then went on to a doctrate. In particular though
03:43 it was placed in my heart that I ought to review
03:48 some of those notes, because I was giving divorce,
03:50 recovery, seminars. And there is nothing better
03:54 then to talk to people after you've gonna through
03:56 the same thing, right. So, I began collecting those
04:01 notes and I listed them down and somebody said,
04:05 you want to make a book out of that.
04:06 And I am not author and I have no intention using
04:09 those notes for that reason. But I felt that the Lord
04:12 wanted it too, so I can reach more people
04:14 then just a seminar of 10 or 20 people, yes,
04:17 but I can reach the people out there.
04:20 Now, in your book you talk about your own pain
04:24 and the experience of this deep sense of worthlessness
04:29 and loneliness and lack of purpose.
04:31 How did God get you through this?
04:34 because there are so many people who are experiencing
04:37 the same thing. Yeah, it, sometimes when we get
04:41 so much pain and we get so lonely and depressed,
04:45 we feel so helpless and worthless.
04:48 The arrogance of self-centeredness is diminished
04:53 to the point what we are saying,
04:55 I need something more than myself, I need God.
05:00 And then we submit ourselves to God and the best way
05:04 to submit to God is to read his word, Amen.
05:08 Listen to what he has to say and one of the verses
05:11 the Psalm 23 verses 1 through 4, but in particular
05:16 verse 4 was really pivotal for me.
05:20 And it opened the gate. Why don't you go review
05:22 those verses for us? Okay, let me just
05:25 read them to you. "The Lord is my shepherd,
05:29 I shall not want. He makes me lie down
05:33 in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
05:39 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths
05:44 of righteousness for his name's sake.
05:47 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow
05:50 of death, I shall fear no evil, for He is with me;
05:56 his rod and his staff, they comfort me."
06:02 You know when I read through this verses
06:06 I look at God as my shepherd, and I needed a shepherd badly,
06:10 Amen. So badly, because I had lost everything,
06:14 a dream of a marriage for life. And effect of my children
06:20 and so I said, oh wow! I need this,
06:23 this is my shepherd. And then he makes me
06:26 lie down in green pastures, and these are places that
06:29 he is gonna bring me to that are much better
06:32 then that I have now. And he leads me besides
06:35 quiet waters. In other words, my life was
06:37 in turmoil and just was so upheaval, such an upheaval.
06:42 And so he restores my soul, he brings me back into
06:46 his blessings of peace. He guides me in the paths of
06:50 righteousness for His name' sake.
06:52 Now here's where the pivotal thing for me was,
06:55 he walks me through the valley of the shadow of death.
06:59 In other words, he walks me through,
07:00 he doesn't park me in that valley, Amen.
07:03 As long as I hold on to Him I can walk through,
07:07 but if I let go of him and I become
07:11 self-centered and I want to do it my way.
07:13 And I don't trust him and have faith that
07:15 he is going to bring me through.
07:17 Know if answer but, He will carry me through, Amen.
07:22 He will carry me through and then he says,
07:24 I will walk you through the valley,
07:26 but I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
07:29 And to me this divorce was death, sure.
07:32 And God kept that reminding me, he said, Richard,
07:36 that's not death, it's a shadow of death.
07:39 It looks like death, then I remember it saying,
07:43 said what would you rather be run over by,
07:45 the shadow of a truck or a truck, oh that's good.
07:48 And then I said oh, I understand Lord and that was
07:53 the beginning because I knew that Satan
07:56 was trying to make me believe that the shadow
07:59 was the truck. Yes, have you ever heard
08:03 anyone say that in some ways divorce is more difficult
08:09 than the dead of spouse? yeah, because the pain is,
08:11 did you go through this where you were second guessing
08:16 yourself thinking what if I had done this differently,
08:19 that differently, yes. But there is no closure
08:21 because, yeah, the one you love so much, right,
08:24 if you the one that been rejected, yeah, yeah,
08:26 the one you love so much is rejecting you, yes.
08:30 And although there is that total separation,
08:32 there is no closure, they're still alive,
08:34 they're out there, yeah, you're hoping for
08:35 reconciliation. That's right, that's right,
08:37 you really are, and you know its at night times
08:40 that it was most difficult for me because I would,
08:42 these tapes in my mind would go over
08:46 what could I have done that was different
08:48 to what should I have done. And the tapes go round
08:53 and round with no off buttons. You know
08:55 that just never start and then you wake up
08:58 and you cry, the loss is so devastating.
09:03 And then Jesus says, hang on to me,
09:06 I am gonna bring you through this,
09:08 and you see you may have even tears while you
09:10 are going through this, but then God gives you
09:13 a peace underneath that say, you are gonna
09:15 go through this, you're gonna go through this.
09:20 Richard, they are so many people,
09:22 that I have met, counseled with, who have said
09:27 I want to avoid this pain, sometimes they try to
09:32 fill their emptiness with alcohol or just illicit
09:37 sexual affairs, sure. They are trying to avoid
09:40 this pain of rejection and separation, yes.
09:43 What was your attitude about the pain?
09:44 Well, when I am really felt was that pain drove me
09:50 to such a point in my life. In other words,
09:54 it removed any arrogance of self.
09:57 And that really is the key to a walk with God,
10:00 because once self is out of the way,
10:02 then Christ can come and be present in him.
10:06 And you can walk with him without a conflict
10:09 of saying well I want it my way or this is what
10:12 I think and this is my feelings.
10:14 No, what are your feelings are? what is your desire for me?
10:19 what do you want? And so he says,
10:21 I want you to walk through this pain as my child,
10:26 I want you to walk as my child, meaning, meaning,
10:29 the fruit is Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22, 23 love,
10:34 joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness,
10:39 goodness, and self-control. I mean these are
10:42 the attributes of God's presence in me or anybody
10:46 out there who is going through a valley with God.
10:50 So, what I say to everybody is,
10:53 don't let that pain be wasted. Don't let the pain be wasted.
10:59 Now, you are gonna have to explain that
11:01 so everyone, it's really interesting.
11:02 In other words, that pain brings us to a point
11:06 were we accept God. We say, Lord,
11:11 I can't go on without you. This pain
11:14 is overwhelming and God says I will make
11:17 a good out of that one. Romans 8:28,
11:20 I can do a good out of that. Because you
11:23 have yield and surrendered before me,
11:26 you've allowed that pain to become the vehicle,
11:30 in which you yield into my arms of safety.
11:35 So, when you saying don't waste the pain, yes,
11:37 embrace the pain because that is what causes you
11:41 to drawn near to God, and as the Bible promises
11:43 in James 4:8, I believe he says,
11:46 draw near to God, God will draw near to you.
11:48 That's right. So, there is no way to rush
11:52 through this pain, but if someone tries to mask
11:56 it to become involved with other partners,
12:00 soon or just try to deny the pain.
12:03 They are cheating themselves out of that
12:05 intimacy of a new relationship with God.
12:07 Absolutely true, that vertical relationship
12:10 is so pivotal for this experience.
12:15 It's going to, if you are allow it to happen
12:17 you can bond with God in a way you've never done before,
12:21 a bond of trust and of faith, yes.
12:24 And this is so important because it isn't just important
12:29 for that moment, but believe it or not
12:31 if you have children, their little eyes and ears
12:34 are hearing and looking and they see that kind of
12:37 faith in you that's excellent for their growth in God.
12:42 And also later, because 80 or 90% of people
12:46 do remarry sooner or later and I advice not too soon.
12:49 Right. But you bring those things to God
12:53 taught to you into the second marriage.
12:55 That prevents a failure of the second marriage,
13:00 because we are seeing today, the statistics are saying,
13:02 second marriage is failing 74% of the time.
13:06 And third, 83% of the time and fourth 92% of the time.
13:11 But, when you bring what God has taught you,
13:15 take self out of the way and be God centered.
13:19 Not self-centered, but God centered,
13:20 then you walk in this new relationship
13:26 like God taught you. Earlier you mentioned
13:28 that getting rid of that self-dependence
13:32 and self-centeredness is the secret
13:33 to relationship with God. And when you said
13:35 that I thought and it's the secret to having
13:38 a good marriage as well. It is, what you know
13:41 if you had to say, what is the major
13:43 cause of relationship breakdowns
13:46 or marital breakdowns, no question, self-centeredness.
13:51 Right. You see, and Jesus said very clearly
13:54 in Luke 9:23 and Mark and Matthew, deny self,
14:00 pick up your cross, daily, and follow me, yes.
14:05 Paul said he died how often? Daily.
14:07 Yes, you see if Paul, I looked at my son,
14:10 I said if Paul had to do it daily,
14:12 I have to do it by the hour, Amen.
14:13 Yeah, so this is thing that deters that
14:17 wonderfulness of God to be in me, kindness,
14:20 gentleness, faithfulness, absolutely, see, absolutely.
14:24 So, if you were talking when Jesus said in Luke 9:23,
14:29 yeah, to deny ourselves, yeah, pick our cross,
14:32 die daily, yes, and follow him. How would you explain
14:38 if you were doing this seminar?
14:39 yeah, how do you explain denying self?
14:42 particularly when you are coming through this process,
14:45 yeah, of recovering from a divorce?
14:48 Well, you see dining self is a process of surrendering
14:56 my emotions, my mental intelligence,
15:02 my will, my desires and saying, Lord, I need to step aside,
15:09 Amen. I got to like you come in and this doesn't happen
15:13 in one day or one situation, its a growing thing,
15:16 it's a process. But, we build that process
15:20 at that most painful time and we start to do that.
15:25 Our lives will be so much better forever.
15:29 Amen, you know you're reminding me of the scripture
15:32 First Corinthians 6:17 that says, those who
15:34 are united to Christ are one with Him in spirit.
15:37 And I did the study on that word one, yes,
15:41 when he says Hear, O Israel, our Lord is one.
15:44 One God, Hallelujah! It means to be one in purpose,
15:48 thought and action. So, what you're describing
15:51 is for the person who is going through a divorce.
15:55 Yes. To just as that pain is waiting over them
15:59 and drives them to the foot of the cross
16:01 and they learn to say, Lord, not my will,
16:04 but yours be done, yeah, help me didn't pick up
16:06 my cross and died itself today.
16:08 Surrender this burden to him and to know
16:11 that they are totally depended upon the Holy Spirit,
16:14 to walk through this like a child of God, yes
16:17 and just to realize that this is something
16:21 that is going to change their life forever,
16:25 absolutely, for their eternal benefit, yes,
16:28 and happiness here on earth. And that's how you walk
16:30 through every trail, not just a divorce,
16:33 but this will not be the only pain you'll go through
16:36 in your life. Hopefully never to that degree,
16:40 but there be other difficulties in life
16:42 and it's the same process. Am I getting away
16:45 in the way of God coming in to guide me.
16:48 So, when you're learning to deny yourself,
16:51 what was your, I mean it had to be
16:54 more than just prayer, it had to be more than just
16:56 going before the Lord and saying,
16:58 okay I am here to surrender it all to you,
17:00 yeah, yeah. What tools did you use that God provided?
17:04 Scripture, the word of God at all the time.
17:06 You know, Paul said in Galatians 2:20,
17:09 I have been crucified that self.
17:11 I've been crucified with Christ,
17:14 I know no longer live; right, but what Christ lives in me,
17:19 see and then, and then in Romans 12:2
17:22 he made it very clearly, he says,
17:23 Do not be conformed to this world,
17:25 but be what? Transformed by the renewing
17:29 of your mind, Amen. You see I'm gonna put
17:32 a different pair of glasses on, so I see my difficulties
17:36 in life from God's perspective, right.
17:39 Not for my self-centered perspective oh,
17:41 you hurt me, oh you did this to me, no.
17:44 I look at it through patience and kindness.
17:48 Amen, amen, and in the word of God,
17:52 not only do we find wisdom and council,
17:56 we find comfort, yes, we find the knowledge
18:00 and of the, I mean there is how to, yeah, you know
18:03 God's word is very practical. Yes, yes. So, for you,
18:07 what was some of your journey, take us through
18:12 some of your stages as you were coming through
18:14 this and surrendering to the Lord.
18:16 And why do you believe it's important
18:19 not to seek another relationship with a person
18:23 for a period of say, I believe we've agreed
18:27 before in another program, two years, tell us about that.
18:31 Well, you know, you are very vulnerable
18:34 at that particular time. Loneliness is overwhelming,
18:39 depressed, you are seeing life even though
18:44 you are working it out with God and God's bringing you to,
18:47 still you haven't got the strength to make
18:52 wise decision, or you haven't relied enough
18:55 yet on God. And so when God
18:57 has to bring him through these things to stabilize you,
19:03 connect the vertical with God. And at that particular time
19:08 is when you will do your greatest growing.
19:10 You know, I talked to people and I counciled people
19:13 and over and over again, people say I learned
19:17 my greatest lessons in the most amount of pain,
19:20 Amen. So, that's what I mean,
19:21 don't waste that pain, lets be productive
19:25 to move you to God and cement your relationship
19:29 with God in faith and trust that he loves me
19:32 no matter what, an everlasting love
19:36 never changes regardless. Now, if I am going
19:42 through this pain and this loneliness,
19:47 what would you council me to do other then say,
19:49 I agree with you. If you were unhealthy
19:52 emotionally and after such a dramatic event,
19:55 sure, you certainly are, you will make decisions
19:58 that are unwise, right. And you will get involved
20:00 in the relationships that are unwise, yeah.
20:02 I think that's why so many second and third marriages
20:04 are fail. But, what did you do?
20:07 What would you advice me to do, our viewer to do,
20:09 if we were going through this and walking through this,
20:12 okay. What did you do practically to over come
20:15 some of this loneliness? Remember I told you put on
20:19 different pair of glasses, you don't see loneliness
20:22 as nothing. You transfer into a loneliness
20:28 with God, and that's good. This becomes a special,
20:31 unique relationship with the power
20:34 that I never had before, see this loneliness
20:37 with God it isn't I am not lonely now, see.
20:40 I am alone with God, and he is teaching me.
20:43 Another thing that helped me a great deal was
20:48 to understand what made my loneliness and especially
20:51 depression worse, was self pity.
20:54 When I started to feel sorry for myself.
20:58 I am just, you know, poor me and I felt
21:01 I had a lot of reasons, why I felt for me.
21:03 I mean you know I didn't deserve this, etc, etc.
21:06 Well, whether it's true or not?
21:09 The point is it doesn't help your depression
21:11 and your relationship with God. And so he says get
21:14 self out of the way, that's self pity.
21:16 He says and so I had a hard time doing this
21:19 and I had to make this little sticky notes
21:21 as I told you last time, that I put all over the place.
21:25 I said, tell you that in my book how
21:26 I did all this stuff, but it said MGC,
21:30 no moaning, no groaning and no complaining.
21:34 And that was a reminder that I had and I would say,
21:36 oh good, I've got it. But I had to be reminded
21:39 an hour later or next day, but those notes
21:42 were there and after while. As I began to do this,
21:46 because God wanted me to do this,
21:48 get God-centered not self-centered,
21:50 I move out of the gallery. Now did you also
21:54 during this time, not only embracing this instead of,
21:59 as you said loneliness, but looking at this is my time
22:01 to be alone with God, to get to know my Father better.
22:05 Who he is and who I am, as his child.
22:07 Did you also reach out to you church?
22:10 or did you get involved with group activities?
22:12 what would you recommend for someone who is doing this?
22:16 Very important to get with Godly people
22:18 and I mean this very sincerely. If you get involved with
22:23 wrong people, they will force or lets say foster
22:28 a negative attitude which fosters ungodly behavior.
22:34 So, you have to get really Godly he who really
22:38 understand what it means to die this self,
22:41 surrender to Christ so they he may live in me
22:43 and that his will is working in me, Amen.
22:47 See and that's so pivotal, Amen. Very important next
22:51 as you wanna get in groups perhaps of fellowship,
22:57 Bible studies are excellent. I recommend divorce care
23:01 seminars and I give them, I've been giving them
23:04 for six years. There are in all of many
23:07 Christian churches have them. And if you don't have one
23:09 in your church, well go to one that does.
23:12 And they are Bible centered and there you have
23:16 other people who have gonna through the same thing
23:18 you have, except some of them are further along.
23:21 And so you can see there is hope for me.
23:24 And of course are many good books out there
23:27 and I recommend to start with the one I wrote,
23:31 because that's, that's the reason I wrote it,
23:33 I wanted to reach those people.
23:35 It's a wonderful book, now let me ask you
23:37 this if we've discuss this on another program,
23:42 but I am sure that we mentioned it today
23:44 that is you and I both agree on something
23:47 and that is someone who has come through
23:50 the traumatic event of a divorce or even the death
23:53 of spouse I would say, sure, yeah.
23:54 You should wait at least two years, yes,
23:57 before you begin to date again, yes, yes.
24:00 And you did you waited two-and-half years
24:03 and actually trying to reconcile
24:04 with your wife didn't you? Yes, we are leaving it open,
24:06 leaving it open for reconciliation, yes, yes.
24:09 But also it was a time for healing,
24:12 this is a very precious time to move closer to God,
24:16 because you don't have the kind of time you have now.
24:20 Because you may get married and end up raising,
24:22 having another family or having household chores,
24:25 but now you're alone. And so it's a time to really
24:29 get the vertical with God. And that's the most precious
24:35 time because you heal and now when you come to date.
24:41 I don't expect, I don't recommend
24:43 going out dating, I suggest you do it in group settings.
24:47 Because you're gonna, many of you have been
24:48 married for quite a while, you're gonna feel awkward.
24:51 I mean, you know I'm dating, you know,
24:53 I mean this is awkward. So, you be in group settings
24:57 and you have an opportunity to watch people
25:01 in their character and their spirituality
25:05 and you have no, you have not committed yourself see,
25:07 right. And that's good to do.
25:10 Amen, no for our viewers if you would like to know
25:14 that Richard is happily remarried,
25:17 he waited five years and the Lord has blessed him
25:20 with so much more than you ever anticipated
25:23 hasn't he? But let me get back to
25:25 we only got a couple of minutes left in program,
25:27 so let me ask this quickly. Surrendering self
25:31 to God is critical, we have to be emptied of self
25:35 to be filled with the Holy Spirit, correct,
25:37 and that peace and the love and the fruit
25:39 of this spirits, right, love, joy, peace, etc.
25:42 What happens though when you're walking
25:45 in the fruit of the spirit, you know, you're filled
25:47 with Holy Spirit, yes, and all of the sudden
25:49 that old pain just slams you right in the face again,
25:52 it just and it does doesn't it?
25:54 It ambushes you, okay, you don't expect it.
25:57 How do you get past those moments?
25:58 It's a surprise, and that's part
26:00 of the learning process. See that's the part
26:02 of the time when you just get back and say,
26:04 what has God taught me. Oh! Yes!
26:08 Walk with God in the pain, be his child.
26:14 Walk, no self pity, just walk with God.
26:21 Take your glasses off, put his on,
26:24 you can do this and it's being vulnerable
26:27 in order to be able to be in God's grace.
26:31 Because you are not afraid of what people
26:33 are gonna do, because God is with me, Amen.
26:36 God is protecting me, he is walking me through.
26:40 That person there is not walking me through
26:42 my church is helping, but they're not walking
26:44 me through. God is walking me through
26:45 and he is all powerful, Amen. So, I don't have to worry
26:49 about oh! I have to, somebody may do this
26:52 or say no, no I can be truthful and honest.
26:56 Amen, you know we started off today
27:00 talking Hebrews 13:20, yeah.
27:02 How God, the God of peace is the one
27:06 who will equip us to do his will, and as Richard
27:10 as said to take us through these times of great trouble.
27:14 Richard, we've got to have you come back
27:16 because there things we need to talk more
27:18 about in that, particularly that forgiveness aspect.
27:20 How do you for give your spouse and go forward?
27:23 Thank you so much, you're welcome,
27:25 for being with us here today, yeah thank you.
27:26 And we look forward to having you come back.
27:29 For those of you at home, remember this, no matter
27:31 why you are going through, God loves you with
27:34 an everlasting love, and He promises that
27:37 that His everlasting arms are beneath you
27:39 and that He will trust out the enemy from before you
27:42 getting him out of the way. Now, until next time,
27:46 may the love of our Lord Jesus Christ,
27:48 the grace of the Father and the fellowship
27:50 with the Holy Spirit be with you for always.


Revised 2014-12-17