As a co-founder of Cruciform Press, I like to provide occasional updates on news, and tell you about our most recent titles. Our featured title for September is Broken Vows: Divorce and the Goodness of God by John Greco.
Broken Vows is a very personal book that opens with a bit of the author’s story. Greco was getting ready to start a new job as an associate pastor when he learned his wife had committed adultery and was not interested in saving the marriage. Shortly after his wife left, the job offer was rescinded. Nearly every worldly thing he based his identity on was lost, and he had to rebuild his life and look to Christ.
This book may speak primarily to those who have experienced divorce, but it is also a good resource for pastors and other Christians who want to think biblically about divorce so they can counsel others who have been impacted by it. Greco states that his reason for writing the book was “to stand alongside people who know the sting of divorce and other heartbreak, and at the same time, to inform those who’ve never known the pain personally.” But this book is more than just a divorce book, it’s a book about suffering, grief, forgiveness, and remaining hopeful in the wake of lost dreams. Everyone can in some way relate to those things, so everyone can in some way be encouraged by it.
At one time or another every one of us–whether we’ve walked through the pain of divorce or not–has wanted life to be “fixed” in some way. It’s what Jesus prayed next that is difficult: “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). This is what it sounds like when a hope is yielded to God–when the greatest desire of a heart is to know God above everything else.
When this is the order of our priorities, we are freed from bondage to our circumstances. Like Jesus, like Stephen, and like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we can respond to an uncertain future with unwavering resolve–regardless of our current struggles or what the future may hold. And we can be content without denying the reality that things aren’t where we might like them to be. We can say with the Psalmist: “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”(Psalm 118:6)
Throughout the book, Greco continually emphasizes the hope of the gospel, not as a means to get through the bad times, but as the only hope any of us have. Greco’s perspective is that of the spouse who was left, but he also points to the necessity of the gospel for the spouse who may bear the bulk of the blame for the end of the marriage. The abandoned spouse may fall into the trap of bitterness and self-righteousness. The other spouse may be under enormous guilt. But both sides, he says, need Christ.
Everyone knows someone who has been affected by divorce. Every church at some point has to deal with this issue. It’s sad that we need a book like this, but I’m grateful that Greco has provided the church with a resource to help us think biblically about such an important topic.