Revive Our Hearts Radio

The Benefits of Forgiveness

Leslie Basham: Here's Lorna Wilkinson.

Lorna Wilkinson: My husband woke me up. It was about 4:00 am in the morning. He said, "Lorna, I want to tell you right now that a man should love his wife with all his heart as God has loved us." And he said, "I want to tell you at this moment that I love you that way." Those were the very last words spoken from my husband.

Leslie Basham: It is Tuesday, April 19th, and you are listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Yesterday, Lorna Wilkinson started to tell us her story. She was in the process of divorcing her husband who was an alcoholic. She needed a car since they couldn't share anymore, and the used vehicle she bought had a radio that was tuned to a Christian radio station.

She heard the gospel, and her life was changed. One of the programs she heard was Revive Our Hearts. While listening she was challenged to truly love her husband, forgive him, and invite him back home after he had a heart attack. So far in the story, she was doing this more out of obedience than because of any romantic feelings. Let's find out what God continued to do in her heart. Here is Nancy talking with Lorna Wilkinson.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So, you really started by forgiving as an act of your will before your husband changed, before you realized you were going to have this miracle in your marriage. You just obeyed God, and then God brought the restoration and restored your emotions and your heart toward your husband. It wasn't the other way around, was it?

Lorna Wilkinson: No, it wasn't. It wasn't. It was not until I submitted, and there was another program that came right after that, Total Submission. For us wives to be able to submit to our husbands, and it is not being a dishrag or dishtowel or floor mat, it is submitting to him and respecting our husband. It is loving our husband and letting him know.

When the marriage becomes destroyed, you start taking over. And the more you take over, the more your husband falls into a place where he doesn't need to be. As I was able to submit to my husband I could say, "You are in control of this home. I submit to you."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Was that hard for you, Lorna, after those years of him not earning that trust and that respect on your part?

Lorna Wilkinson: Yes, initially it was very, very difficult because you are scared to let go. You are wondering, can I really let go? Is this going to go back to the way it was, and I am going to start all over again with the hurt that I felt? But you have to get to the point that you trust God, that you know in your heart that the Lord will be there for you. The Lord is always faithful and just. He will never let us down. His Words will never turn void, so you just have to hold on to that strength and not be afraid to let go and let God.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Now once you did that, I know the Lord was not going to let you down, but were there times that your husband let you down after he came back and you forgave him?

Lorna Wilkinson: No, we were very blessed. The Lord gave us total recovery. I suppose, Nancy, because there was a short time for us left where the home was at peace. My husband had returned to work. We were praying together. We were on our knees together, just asking the Lord to abide in us and us to abide in Him. It was just wonderful, total recovery.

I am here to say today that for some, Nancy, who are feeling there is no hope and the only thing that is left for them to do is to apply for a divorce and just be separated. I want them to know that the thing to do is not to take it upon yourself; it is to give it to the Lord, not in spoken words but totally and completely from the heart. Because we can say a lot, but it has to come from the heart, where you are willing to submit to God in all ways and to trust Him and to be obedient and to know that God will never let you down.

Song:

Jesus, I am resting, resting

In the joy of who you are.

I am finding out the greatness

The greatness of thy loving heart.*

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Wow! Anybody who is listening to this, who doesn't believe in miracles, can't be convinced. This is an incredible story of God's grace and God's power in the most hopeless situations. I am listening to you, Lorna, and I am in awe of the goodness of God and the power of obedience, the power of forgiveness to release God's grace into the most desperate lives and relationships.

I think we should be quick to point out that if we obey God and forgive that does not guarantee that the husband will come back or that he will change, but it does guarantee that we will change. Anybody listening to you, Lorna, can tell that God has done an incredible thing in your heart that really wasn't dependent on how your husband responded.

Lorna Wilkinson: Absolutely. It didn't matter how long it would take. I was just prepared to love the Lord, to trust the Lord, to give it all to Him in prayer. This just happened so quickly, Nancy. It just happened so quickly. Each and every day I thank the Lord for your program because today I cannot say where I would have been. My husband probably would have died some place, and there would have been no forgiveness. The children would not have known the love that a father can bring and that a husband can bring in the home and the leadership of a father and husband in the home. They experienced this in such a profound manner that today we can all rejoice and thank the Lord as a family, and remember the wonderful times that the Lord gave us.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What you had no way of knowing at that time was that you were not going to have long left with your husband here on this earth.

Lorna Wilkinson: The Lord blessed us with four months of wonderful recovery in this relationship. Nancy, there was so much love in our home. There was so much peace in our home. There was so much joy in our home. It is just impossible for me to use words to describe what the Lord did for us.

Nancy, four months later on a Tuesday morning my husband woke me up. It was about 4:00 am in the morning. And he said, "Lorna, I want to tell you right now that a man should love his wife with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his mind as God has loved us. I want to tell you tell you at this moment that I love you that way." Nancy, those were the very last words spoken from my husband. A few hours later he had another massive heart attack and went to be home with the Lord.

I had no way of knowing this. I had left work that afternoon. The minute I arrived home I was met by my oldest son. He said, "Mom, the ambulance just took Dad. I think we have lost him." Nancy, I don't know where this came from, but the words that came from my lips were, "Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus."

The Sunday before my pastor had called for an altar call, and he said, "If there is anything that you need to pray for, then come on up." I went, Nancy, up to the altar, and I prayed to the Lord for my husband's health to be completely restored, just to be completely restored and that his heart would heal and that it would be totally mended.

But at that moment, Nancy, I realized that sometimes we ask for blessings in the flesh, but God knew better than I did. He wanted to give him eternal healing. He wanted never again for him to hurt or to suffer from his heart, and so He blessed us in such a wonderful way with eternal healing. He took Pascal home. He took him home to be with Him. It was such a wonderful thing, Nancy.

You know when my son had told me that the ambulance and taken him, I knew he had gone to be with the Lord before I got to the hospital. And I said, "Lord, I thank you. I thank you, Jesus, for the work that you have done . . . for your eternal healing."

Children, precious children,

I know that your shaken.

A loved one's taken.

Oh, but hear me.

Come, draw near me.

Their pain is passing now.

They rest at last now, safely home.**

Joel 2:25 tells us, "I will restore to you the years that the locusts have destroyed." And you know, we had twenty-one years of destruction and the Lord restored those years in a matter of months. We would say, "I don't have twenty-one years left," but the Lord's time is not our time. In four months, all was restored. Thanks be to God for His blessings and His faithfulness.

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking with Lorna Wilkinson. We heard how Lorna chose to forgive her husband and submit to him even when it was really hard. Then we found out how that choice paid off. God gave peace to that marriage as Lorna and her husband spent their last weeks on this earth together.

Maybe you know someone who is hanging in there, but they are in a tough marriage. One thing God used to help Lorna stay faithful was a radio series from Revive Our Hearts called How's Your Love Life? We have that series available on CD, and you can get a copy by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com. You can also call 1-800-569-5959. That's 1-800-569-5959.

Maybe you are staying faithful in a tough marriage situation. If you write to us we will pray for you. You can visit ReviveOurHearts.com and send an e-mail . Tomorrow Lorna will reflect on her amazing story and give some more hope to women struggling in tough marriages. Please join us for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting. Words by Jean Pigott. Music by Todd Murray. Only One Life, 2000. Search Me O God Music.

**Safely Home. Steve Green. 1998 Sony/ATV Songs. Randy Cox Music, BMI.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.

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