Review posted March 22, 2009.
Rejoice Marriage Ministries, 2006. 263 pages.
Of all the books from Rejoice Marriage Ministries, I think I am most encouraged by the ones Bob Steinkamp has written about his experiences as a "prodigal."
Bob's wife Charlyne divorced him for adultery and abuse, on the advice of her pastor. But then her heart was convicted and she felt God was telling her not to give up on Bob, but to fast and pray for him to repent and come back to God.
At the time, he thought she was crazy. He told her the marriage was over, and melted down his wedding ring to prove it. He told her he was never ever coming back.
But now, twenty years later, he tells a different story. He tells how God was working on him the entire two years that they were divorced before he finally gave in to God's promptings and remarried his wife.
It took a long while, crisis after crisis, almost a promise of a plane crash, and even coming face to face with three visible demons in my bedroom, for me to do what the Lord desired. Yes, I had my own "free will" as people are reminding you, but it would take a book to share all the ways God used to bring my free will into alignment with His will for my life.
This book gives a window into what happened behind the scenes while his wife was praying. She certainly didn't know what he was thinking at the time. I thought this paragraph was eye-opening:
How many times a day do you think of your absent mate? How often does something happen that will instantly remind you of the one you love? Rest assured that you are coming to your prodigal's thoughts just as often. When you were married you became one flesh, a relationship that simply cannot be dissolved at will. Your absent mate may wish you would drop from their memory, but God will never allow that to happen. As you stand strong, doing things God's way, those memories in your mate's mind will be enhanced. Take that as fact from a man who called the other woman by his wife's name a year after our divorce!
Bob also reminds the reader that his transformation came from God's work in his heart, not something that Charlyne engineered. He urges you to give your marriage to God, but reminds you that prayers for your spouse are far more effective than you may realize at the time.