PRODIGALS DO COME HOME!
“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37
What a glorious weekend to celebrate Bob coming home from the far country and our remarriage on July 7, 1987 at our Rejoice On The Road conference, There’s Hope!
God’s timing is incredible. Our family did not plan it, but I know my Lord did. There is nothing more I would like to do to celebrate our remarriage and Bob’s coming home than at a Rejoice On The Road conference with a room full of standers. Praise the Lord!
This week has been very special to me as Bob came home 26 years ago on July 7, 1987. I stand amazed at all the Lord has done in both of our lives since Bob came home that Wednesday afternoon as he surrendered his will, his way to God’s will and way and total obedience to the Lord speaking to him at the restaurant, “Go home and get remarried today.”
The grief and sorrow for Bob this second year has improved, but I will always miss him so much. The Lord has really spoken to me, I must continue to proclaim. I give all the praise to the Lord how Bob’s devotionals and books are still helping standers, giving them hope and encouragement as they help men and women to be able to understand the hearts of prodigals who have left home to go to the far country.
Now let me take you back to when Bob returned home on Wednesday, July 7, 1987. What a glorious day for me, our children and family members!
Bob and I always celebrated both our anniversaries. But, we always celebrated our remarriage anniversary with a little more excitement because we both knew what the Lord had done in our lives to accomplish His miracle of marriage restoration for us.
Do you remember the weekends when you are alone and you cry out to the Lord and ask Him for another promise from His Word? On May 2, 1987 at 3:00 p.m. - yes, I have the date and time written in my Bible - I had asked the Lord, just like you do, for another confirmation that He was going to bring Bob home and restore our marriage. Bob had told me that he and the other woman were going to get married and they were making plans for their wedding. That afternoon the Lord gave me this scripture:
No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married. Isaiah 62:4
I cried out and started praising my Lord! I could not believe the scripture was so personal, just for me. He will do the same for you, just pray and ask Him. I pray that you will seek your Lord for His divine answers and instructions regarding restoring and rebuilding your marriage. Then stand firm in your faith, believing what God has promised will come to pass.
Twenty-six years ago my children and I celebrated July 4th alone with no sign or communication from Bob. I did not have any idea what the Lord was planning for me and our family only three days later. Will you pray and live your life expecting the Lord to move your mountain of circumstances at any time?
“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” Luke 1:45
On July 7, 1987, Bob drove two hours from Ft. Pierce, Florida, came to my office and knocked on my window. I was shocked to see him. I went to the back door and he asked if I could go out to lunch with him. I could see he was distressed. I went back inside and quickly arranged to take an extended lunch time. I left not knowing what was going on in Bob's heart or mind.
Bob was under Holy Spirit conviction. He had a battle raging within between the Holy Spirit and Satan. There was a battle between doing what was fun, wild, living in a world of sin, or coming back home to a wife and children who had been praying for him. The Lord had clarified that fact so clearly by speaking to me one night when I was crying and praying for the Lord to touch and change Bob’s heart. The Lord said, “It is finished.” I will never forget those words. I thought that possibly Bob would be coming home suddenly, but that was not the case. Instead I went dashing for Bill Gaither’s popular song, “It Is Finished.” That song explained to me exactly what was happening to Bob. The Lord revealed the truths to me of the spiritual battle that Bob was in. Yes, you and I must wait for the answers to all our prayers as Daniel did in Daniel Chapter 10.
While we were still in the parking lot, sitting in his car, Bob asked me to stop praying for him. He said I had to leave him alone, and that he could not handle the stress. The funny part of that was I was not communicating with him unless he called the children or me. I assured Bob that I loved him, but I would never stop praying for him. I continued to listen and “zipped my lips.”
All of a sudden Bob said, “To keep you happy and for you to leave me alone, I will go to the courthouse with you right now and get a marriage license that you can keep in your Bible to know that sometime in the future, I may come home.” Doesn't that sound like so many double-minded prodigals?
Wow! I could not believe Bob suggested such an idea, as he and the other person were planning their wedding. Bob was speaking double mindedness. He was just wanting peace from all the turmoil that he was feeling deep within. God was putting Bob in a corner to hear the Holy Spirit's voice and plans for his future.
We went to the courthouse and I prayed continuously, asking the Lord to help me to speak and say just the right words.
We did not have cell phones. As we teach you weekly, you must be self-sufficient when your spouse comes home so you can talk and listen to the Lord personally. I had no idea what was going to happen.
We got the marriage license and Bob said, “Now you should be satisfied, so stop praying for me and leave me alone. Some day we may get remarried, but not now.”
Then Bob took me to his new favorite restaurant, which I learned was the other woman's favorite place. As I left the table for a few minutes, the Holy Spirit spoke to my husband like never before and said, “You have made the biggest mistake in your life by leaving your wife. You need to marry her now and go home.”
When I returned to the table, Bob said he was sorry for all that he had done and that God had just spoken to him. Bob was shook up. He told me he needed to come home. Would I marry him?
Would I? I could not believe my ears! I had been praying and fasting for this moment. I felt like the angels in Heaven were singing the Hallelujah Chorus and in my mind I was visualizing July 4th firecrackers going off all around us!
Bob told me to call our Pastor (who had encouraged me to divorce Bob due to his unfaithfulness) and ask him if we could be remarried in the Pastor's office that very afternoon. I remember mentioning, ever so briefly, if he would like to have a wedding in our church. I had lost weight to fit in my wedding dress, waiting for a large celebration one day. Bob said, “No, I can't do that.” I dropped the church wedding subject instantly. (As I type this crying, I remember this as if it were yesterday! I pray that you will never give up on your beloved spouse.)
The church secretary said our Pastor was at lunch. I asked her to tell him that, “My miracle is happening.” I then called my office to let them know that I was not returning to work that afternoon. Everyone, both at church and at work, knew what was happening as I had been speaking for more than two years that Bob was coming home, someday, somehow, as God had told me He would restore our marriage.
What are you speaking to others? Are you speaking faith, trust and hope in your Lord regardless of your circumstances?
Bob had me call our three children and I was able to arrange for two of them to meet us at the church, without telling them what was happening suddenly on that special afternoon. Both Lori and Tom were very surprised to see their father sitting in the Pastor's office. We explained what happened and that their dad wanted to come back home. Then our Pastor married us.
After our remarriage, we went to Bob's parent's home and walked in, asking them to guess why we were there together. His mother's response was, “You got married!” She had believed what I had been saying, but she had never told me.
Bob and I then left his parents, leaving our children with them, and we went back to the doctor’s office where I worked. I had called the office at Bob’s parent’s house and told them what had happened that afternoon. They asked me to stop by. The doctors had a cake waiting for us and the doctors and staff celebrated our wedding late that afternoon. God gave us a wedding reception! That evening Bob’s parents and our whole family went out to dinner and we celebrated that Bob, my dear husband, a prodigal, had come back home suddenly!
Bob made plans on Thursday for us to go on a cruise to the Bahamas that weekend for our first real honeymoon! Our first wedding on October 1, 1966, we had a hurricane hit South Florida two days after our wedding so our honeymoon was canceled!
Let’s pray for thousands of prodigals to come home to their Lord Jesus and then back to their beloved waiting spouse on this Lord’s Day on July 7, 2013. Let’s continue to make July 7th special for thousands of couples around the world in having their spouse’s hearts and lives transformed as Bob did so many years ago. God is no respecter of persons.
Never doubt that the Lord will do the same for you in His perfect timing!! Walk in faith, believe, trust and stand on the promises He has given you in His Word about your marriage being restored. You will have a day that you will never forget when you get remarried or your husband or wife returns home, suddenly! Yes, I will always celebrate July 7, 1987, every year until Bob and I are reunited in Heaven!
Click here to listen to Charlyne's testimony about their remarriage that was recorded last year on the 25th anniversary of that special day.