December 17, 2011 was a remarkable day in my life and ministry. It had not occurred to me that one time I would preside over of a high profile marriage which attracts attention of international guests.
The marriage of Pastor Regina and Elisha attracted close to one thousand guests, not only from Jinja, but other areas of Uganda and beyond. The celebration was held in an open field because of large number that attended. There were guests from Nairobi in Kenya, and Kigali in Rwanda. Besides the multitudes, the pomp and the decoration attached to it were amazing. The television live coverage, the music bands and security detail showed the planning and the management was professional.
Shortly before leading them to making vows and joining the couple into Holy Marriage, I shared briefly on the theme, "Reconciliation." It was appropriate theme because Pastor Regina and Elisha had just reconciled after 14 years of bitter separation.
I met Pastor Regina about five years ago. She gave me a call after reading my book, "The Discipleship Teaching Manual." Her husband, Mr. Elisha had long walked out her life and was living with other women.
Elisha and Pastor Regina had been properly married in the traditional way. Dowry in the form of cattle, goats, food items, monitory and none monitory presents were given to Regina's parents. At that point they didn't know Jesus personally, so they started living as wife and husband before walking the isle.
Immediately after the coming together as husband and wife the duo met and welcomed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. They grew in the Grace and the anointing of God. They were also blessed by sets of twins up to eight children within a relatively short time.
Soon they received a divine call to establish a church in Mbiko, a small urban center after the Nile bridge on the Main Highway from Kenya to Kampala. When the work was just beginning, Mr Elisha slid back into reckless living with other women and eventually walking out of Pastor Regina life. She struggled to bring up the eight children at the same time growing the church.
It was tough for her. But God's hand was with Regina. The Church grew to more than five hundred members, she acquired land for the church and for herself. God opened doors; that is, Regina got local sponsorship to minister to thousands of people on an FM radio station one hour each week.
God rewarded Pastor Regina for her faithfulness and hard work. She has the first floor of the church built (ground floor), her own house completed, a car and the first set of twins studying in University. Her church does not have any external support, but thrives on prayer and faith.
These blessings did not come cheap though. At one point men of the church felt that a male should be the pastor and not a woman, and therefore tried to throw her out. It took our intervention. My wife and I had several meetings and counseling sessions with members of the church committee to save pastor Regina. God gave us wisdom and favor before the committee.
In May of this year, Pastor Regina came to my office in such a foul mood. She had decided to file divorce against Elisha. She had picked up papers from courts of Law already. Elisha had been fourteen years out of her life, and she feared that he could return one day after getting HIV/AIDS infection and gives her a burden to care for him. I took her through a counseling process, and we all agreed that divorce might not be what is the mind of God. We agreed that she should ask for the mind of God for the solution, rather that proceed with divorcé. Many people, including some church leaders, had urged the divorce option upon her.
After three weeks of intense prayer and fasting Regina got two things. "Peace" and the words, "Forgive him." She called me on 2nd July to tell me what God had said.
Just before I left for Nairobi, I received a call from Mr. Elisha. I had never met him before. He asked for my help to restore him to Jesus Christ and to reconcile him with his wife, the renowned pastor Regina. He had been told that I was the mentor of Pastor Regina, and that she listens to me because my wife and I had been helping with relationship issues in the church.
I quickly summoned Pastor Regina and facilitated face to face discussion between Pastor Regina and her husband for the first time in fourteen years. It was a tense moment as Mr. Elisha poured out his heart of repentance, confessing to the Lord, and to his wife the mess he had been in for fourteen years, including five children he fathered outside their marriage. He fell before his wife and wept bitterly.
Pastor Regina also broke down and wept. Then she pronounced one sentence, "My husband I have forgiven you because the Lord has forgiven you and Himself told me to forgive you."
I suggested that both should have their HIV/AIDS status established first. Three tests were done. Both were negative. A day of walking the aisle for a re-marriage was fixed to be 17th December 2011, and it was marvelous.
I shared with the people who came for the marriage and those who may have watch by television, three factors that are significant for perfect reconciliation. I urged my audience to note the family is an endangered species, and because globalization, families are likely to come under tremendous pressure; therefore husband and wife need to be keen in their relationship. Separation may be "Emotional", "Physical" and "Psychological". Any form separation is likely to impact negatively in the individual lives of the members of the family including the children. I gave my own definition of" a good marriage" as "a union of two good forgivers."
Point One: For perfect reconciliation to occur, each one must abandon their position and move in the direction of the other. Reconciliation is meeting in the point in between the positions. God reconciling with man moved first: he sent His only Son, Jesus Christ. Man must also move (Reciprocate) to denounce himself and take the Lord Jesus Lord and Savior for perfect reconciliation.
Point Two: For perfect reconciliation to take place there must always be the third Party who must always be the Holy Spirit. In many broken relationships, the Holy Spirit is not given a chance. Pride, ego and analytical human reasoning is given reign. I believe if families welcome the intervention of the Holy Spirit there would be no option of divorce because God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16).
Point Three: Finally I told the audience that reconciliation is process. Reconciliation is not an instantaneous occurrence. Without patience, it may not be possible to attain perfect reconciliation: God begun working out the process of reconciliation from day one of the fall of mankind.
As we move towards the festive session, our message is that we are commemorating the biggest reconciliation in human history: Reconciliation between and God in the Cross. Lets us try to evaluate our Horizontal Relationships. (Man-to-man) especially in family life. I am also reminding us that we are living close to the end of the church era. The Lord Jesus could return any time for His Church. As we make plans for next year, let's accommodate that as well.
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