I know a man who was raised in the Word but chose to live his adult life in rebellion. From his early teens he had enjoyed the pleasures of the world and he reveled in sin.
Over time he became discontent with his life style of late nights, booze, and wild meaningless relationships. He became lonely and started thinking he didn't want to live his remaining years without true love in his life. He had many friends. However, there was a vacancy in his heart he felt only the right woman could fill.
He continued in his life style while looking for that one special woman. Reaching his 32nd birthday he was beginning to doubt he would ever find her. He feared he would never meet anyone who wanted more than the casualness of wild weekends and partying.
Many nights he would come home alone being so intoxicated he could barely stand up. He began crying out to God, "God, if you will bring someone into my life who will love me and who I can love I'll turn my life over to You. I promise I will live my life for you and change my ways, only bring my wife to me." This coming from the mouth of a man who could barely remember how he found his way home.
He was very comfortable with where he was living and never considered changing his place of residence. Then one day his employer informed him his position was relocating to another city. He would have to relocate if he wanted to continue in his career. Relocating was the last thing he wanted to do. He fought it tooth and nail. However, nothing changed. It was relocate or change careers. So, begrudgingly, he relocated.
Upon arriving in the new city he settled into his new home and new office. He had been there three weeks when his employer announced a coming business related social event and attendance was mandatory. No one was to come alone. Bring wives or bring dates, no stags.
He was in a new city, had not entered into the night life yet, and did not know a soul. What was he to do? While this was on his mind he went to a local business to do some business transactions. While processing some paperwork he noticed the lady helping him wasn't wearing wedding rings. So, he thought, why not?
He looked into the lady's eyes and said, " there is this social event I have to attend tomorrow evening and I would like for you to go with me as my date.” She wasn't amused asking if he was crazy. She didn't even know him.
So he returned to his office and every five minutes he dialed her number and asked her to go. This went on for quite a while but he refused to stop calling until she said yes. Eventually, being very annoyed, she gave in and agreed to go.
He picked her up the next evening and they attended the social event. From the moment he arrived at her house to the moment he returned her to her house they told each other this was a one time thing and never would it happen again. Three weeks later they were married.
Not many days after the wedding the Holy Spirit began whispering in his ear, "You made Me a promise." This went on for a few days and he was coming under more and more conviction. Finally, while lying in bed reading a book written by H A Ironside, he was overcome by the prompting of the Spirit and asked Jesus for forgiveness and to be Lord of his life. From that moment on this was a changed man.
They were so much in love. They had the dream. Three wonderful children, a brick home, a comfortable life, and most of all, Jesus. Both of them and all three of their children loved Jesus and each other with all their hearts.
God blessed them, their marriage, their family, and raised them up into ministry. They enjoyed heaven on earth for seventeen years. Then suddenly, everything changed.
Lately the ministry had not been going like it should. God was not moving and this was so different. God had always saved, healed, delivered, and performed many other signs in and through this man‘s life and through the ministry He called him to. He had no idea what had happened and remained in prayer and supplication. He continually asked God to reveal to him what to do. What to change. Let him know what was preventing His Spirit from ministering. He kept praying not only for the return of the anointing that was there before but even a greater anointing. This man believed the desire of his heart was to be totally open and available for God to use him in any way He chose to.
A Word came through obedient saints to this man on four different occasions revealing there was a problem in his marriage relationship that needed to be confessed and repented of. He chose to ignore them thinking they, the prophets, had to be missing it. It couldn't be. His relationship with his wife couldn't be better and everything with the children was wonderful. He continued praying and believing for true revelation of what needed to change in his ministry and for a greater Holy Spirit anointing than before.
However, frustration continued because weeks passed and there was no change. It was church, as it had been for a while, every service.
There was an evening of intercessory prayer conducted at a local assembly which he attended on a regular basis. On an evening during one of these prayer meetings a Word came to him through another minister. "I have heard your prayers. What you are seeking does not come without price. Are you willing to pay the price regardless of what it is?" Without hesitation he said, "Yes Lord, You know my heart is for You and there is nothing I desire more than I desire You in my life." The Holy response was, "Even if it is your family?" He hesitated. He was thinking surly God would not take his family from him. God knows how much he loves his wife and children. His wife was an answer to a prayer he had prayed many years ago. How could this be? God would never require that of him. So he responded, "Yes Lord, even my family."
It wasn't long after this, one morning, he was in their bedroom sitting on the edge of the bed putting on his shoes when his wife came in. He looked into her eyes, smiling, and greeted her, "Hi honey." Her response was the most devastating words he had ever heard in his lifetime, "I don’t want to be your wife anymore.”
Her mind was made up and there was no changing it. From that moment on it was as if she never knew and had never been married to this man. She had been preparing their children for months and had convinced them to live with her. She had prepared everyone in her family for what she was about to do, he was the last to know.
He was completely destroyed. He couldn't hold a decent conversation with anyone, much less preach a sermon or minister to the needy. He resigned as pastor early on Sunday morning prior to service beginning.
Three months later he had to either move out of his house or his wife was going to move and take their children with her. He didn't want his children to have to leave the house they had been raised in so he decided he would move to the city where he had lived before. He had family and many friends in that area and he knew he was going to need a lot of help and understanding.
For years he would weep when remembering what had happened. What had he done? No family, no ministry, and no life. He wanted to blame God wondering how, when he was dedicating his entire life to God and the ministry, God had not protected his back. Then during a family reunion years later a nephew said to him, "God would not violate her freedom to choose her own way. She has free will too you know." These words ran through his mind over and over for many months.
God's Holy Spirit began ministering to him and reminded him he does not pray anymore. It had been years since he had meditated in and studied God's word. Not since shortly after his wife told him it was over. It was time for him to return. Little things began to happen. Little things which began to draw him back into the things of God, slowly but surly. Eventually he was abiding in God's Word again and praying regularly. He began hearing from God again. Not like it was before, still, hearing again.
Then one day as he was worshiping and praying in the privacy of his home when Holy Spirit spoke: "Do you remember your prayer? Do you remember praying for more anointing and for God to use you more and prosper the ministry in all Spiritual things? God was prepared to move in ways you wouldn't understand pouring out of His Spirit and performing mighty miracles."
It hit him like a brick. Immediately he visualized salvations, miracles, healings, and deliverances that didn't happen because he had been weak and ran instead of standing strong in faith during adversity. He fell over, tears streaming down his face, and cried out how sorry he was pleading with God for forgiveness. He prayed God found someone else and no one was lost who should have been saved. No one suffered that should have been healed. No one remained in bondage who should have been set free. He prayed, "Oh God, please don't let any blood be on my hands!"
The moral of the story . . . God is faithful. Know that the promises you make to God will be required of you. Anything which takes precedence in your life over God is an idol . . . Even if it is your family.
Jesus suffered more than any man has ever suffered for the redemption of man and the gospel of Grace. Be prepared to pay a huge price if God is to use you in a mighty way in the ministry. Hopefully not your family, but Holy Spirit anointing comes at a high price. You must be willing to suffer all for Him. If you are to be used mightily by Him you must lay your life down and be a servant to all.
To God be the Glory.