Tough Questions

June 17, 2009 — 3 Comments

There is a huge difference between knowing an answer from scripture and applying it pastorally to peoples lives.

The past few weeks, I have been wrestling with God’s word over the issue of remarriage, as I was recently asked to officiate a wedding for a couple with divorce in their past. I can honestly say that this has been the most difficult pastoral challenge I have faced, having to wrestle with Scripture that is hard to understand, and apply it to such a weighty topic where people have a lot invested.

I am confident that in seeking God and weighing the arguments of both sides, I have come to the right conclusion for this instance, but it is still not easy to swallow, especially when I genuinely care for the couple.

The most difficult part, however, is that my conviction of the teaching of the Bible differed from their understanding, and it has resulted in a fractured relationship.  I’m still wrestling with how to understand this and work toward reconciliation, but I know that God is faithful and will honor my obedience to Him.

Pastoring is unbelievably difficult at times…please pray for me, and your pastors!

Todd Engstrom

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Although I was raised in the church and had a knowledge of God, I didn’t embrace Jesus until I heard gospel preached and lived out by some Young Life leaders. God has proven faithful and good to me since that day, even in great suffering and loss. I have learned to treasure Romans 8:28 as a wellspring of hope and truth. God has blessed me with an amazing wife (Olivia), three sons (Micah, Hudson and Owen) and a daughter (Emmaline). Growing up in the northwest, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have four children who are native Texans. Despite landing in the south, I still watch Notre Dame games with my children every Saturday in hopes they will land at my alma mater.

3 responses to Tough Questions

  1. Steve Jennings June 17, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I will be praying! This is a very hard topic today! I have studied all the arguments and I just have to come away with the fact that no matter how you slice it, it says what it says. Having said this I know that it is a very difficult thing that may not be as cut and dried as it appears. However, in may experience when I feel an unrest about an issue I am facing and I am having a hard time grasping it it is often because the Spirit is saying that the hard road is the right one and I am just having a hard time putting aside my fears.
    I pray with confidence that God will reveal His perfect will. He is a holy God, many would argue that a loving God would not break up a happy couple. It must then be realized that God is love and thus He defines what love is in light of His justice and holiness.
    Grace & Peace,
    Steve

  2. Todd Engstrom June 17, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Thank you for the prayer, and I am praying for you!

    I too have looked at both sides, and although I longed for this couple to be happily married, I simply could not participate in rending asunder a covenant that God had joined, no matter how far a spouse has walked away. The difficult part is pastoring people through it, especially when the divorce was biblically legitimate and incredibly painful for the person involved.

    Sometimes it is difficult to remain faithful to God’s word, and can fracture a relationship, but we must remain steadfast in our conviction and obedient to him.

    Thanks for your encouragement!

  3. Hey Todd, I am so thankful that you made that decision. Really. I will pray for you to stay bold. I have divorce in my family, and I always wish SO much that any of the pastors that remarried my parents would not have done it. It may fracture the relationship, but I think you are following Scripture and honoring God, and so I believe He honors you for that. Really, you don’t know how happy that it makes me that you stood strong. Thank you.

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