As we go through a series called "Revive", we want to show that in the midst of chaos, confusion and complexity that we have a God who revives his people and empowers his people to bring forth life. This is Christopher Ortiz' testimony on how God has revived him.
What was the greatest tragedy you've had to face?
By far, the greatest tragedy I've had to face in my lifetime was my divorce. I was married for 7 years to a woman God had blessed me with. I met her 4 months after being saved in 2006. She was a wonderful person with a big heart who loved God, but the reality was that she was broken, just as much as I was. We came together broken, in a broken world. We had common problems just like any other marriage, nothing out of the ordinary. We failed to serve in a church and to give God our all, which contributed to our demise.
After about 6 years of being married, we let things into our life, both individually and as a couple, like drinking more, listening and watching things that weren't building us up in the Lord, having close relationships with unbelievers and smoking weed. For a time it seemed it was helping us grow closer as a couple, but it was a wolf in sheep's clothing ultimately pulling us farther away not only from each other but from God. We were blinded. This lasted for about 8 months.
On November 19, 2014, I came home from work to find her gone. I haven't seen or talked to her since other than when I called her for her birthday 6 months later. I prayed for her and she cried the majority of the short conversation. She filed for divorce and there was nothing I could do. I couldn't imagine living without the one I loved so much. I continued to pray everyday for God to restore our marriage, but he never answered the prayer.
What was God doing in this season (storm)?
I couldn't see past the day and I felt so lost. As soon as she stepped out, God stepped in. I began to read the Word, which I had neglected. God not only spoke to me through His Word, but he spoke to me personally like I've never heard before. So much so that they became letters of love that I wrote down that pierced my soul. His Word came alive and he was reviving me. He may not have restored my marriage, but he restored what was more important and what lasts forever: my relationship with Him. He said once, "I know how much you love your wife. If I allowed anyone or anything else to be taken from you, you wouldn't have come to me, but I knew you would come...that's why I allowed this to happen." He also said, "The way you've been living doesn't show that you love me, that's not what I have for you my son. My love has to be perfected in you so that the world may know me through you."
He was reviving me life, my purpose, my calling, the call of an evangelist. I found him drawing near to my broken heart and it was amazing. Daily conversations of hearing my Lord sustained me. He would bless me from time to time in my storm by blessing others through me. A coworker got saved, as well as my cousin. God influenced my work world and people started going back to church and striving to be better. One friend I have that had also gone through a divorce had a great amount of bitterness and hate for his ex-wife. He heard me in our talks, how I still was loving my wife at a distance in the divorce process, and God touched his heart to forgive her and let go. God used me to help 3 people from committing suicide. I was blessed with a community of God-fearing believers at Antioch where I found deep relationship and love like I've never had. God even placed me as a Lifegroup leader with two wonderful women of God to lead with. The fact that I didn't deserve any of this made his love and grace more real than I had ever known.
Who have you become?
My mistakes in life are what I've done, it doesn't make me who I am. My identity rests in what God has done for me, sacrificing His life for me so that I may overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of my testimony. I am the new and improved Christopher Ortiz. I am righteous; I am holy; I am sanctified, not by my own effort but by the free gift God has given me in Christ Jesus our Lord. I am redeemed, reconciled to God that I may be found in Christ. I am an ambassador, commissioned to share the Gospel. I am Acts 20:24 for I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace.
I still pray for my ex-wife and I pray that God may move in her heart as he did Paul, and that he blesses her in life. I don't know what or who he has in my future, but I know that he works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. For he is a God who provides and He is a God who heals, and His purpose for me will be accomplished. In my life, He will be glorified.