Trying circumstances that cause people disappointments and pain may be part of the journey that leads them to discover God’s plan. This is what happened to single mother-turned-pastor Riva Tims, who saw her life falling apart years ago.
To say that Riva had a turbulent family life is an understatement. She faced not just one but multiple trials that tested her emotional and spiritual strength.
The Biblical passage from Proverbs 16:3 reminds people: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” Riva did just that, initially with her husband Zachery, whom she married in her early 20s.
Riva and Zachery started a ministry in Orlando, Florida, and their church organization grew to a membership of 7,500. The first blow came when Riva discovered that her husband was having an affair.
The couple laid low after that and Zachery focused on counseling. He resumed his ministry after a few months.
While the husband who had shortcomings was accepted back in the fold by the church leaders, Riva was requested to stay away and was told by high-profile church pastors whom she approached to simply just “get over it.” Zachery then confessed he had numerous affairs.
Peace Amidst Continuous Turbulence
Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Riva set out to put the broken pieces of her life together. She was able to do it with God’s help. She found solace and strength in God.
Amidst the trials, Riva heard His word and did not stop believing in Him even when other challenges surfaced. At some point, she even prayed for her estranged husband and found it in her heart to forgive him.
Three years after their separation, Riva and Zachery were divorced. Seeing God in a whole new light amidst tribulations immensely helped the mother of four. She experienced the heart of God in a way she has never felt before and felt him guiding her and instructing her.
Before long, Riva made use of her ability minister and began a non-denominational church in Orlando. She knew deep inside that she was serving as an instrument of God not only in leading a large church on her own but also in carrying out her parental duties to her kids.
Another life blow came when Zachery was found dead in a New York City hotel. It was a dark time in Riva’s life. The pain, as she described it, was excruciating, but she was drawn even closer to God and felt His saving grace.
As she says, “God will not only bring you out, but He’ll also bring you out better than you were before.” There were moments when Pastor Riva was close to exhaustion, which was understandable given the extra care and attention she devoted to her wheelchair-bound 21-year old son, Zachery Jr., who is afflicted with severe cerebral palsy.
The tendency for people going through a series of unfortunate events is to question why it is them, out of all the people in the world, who must suffer so much. Yet Pastor Riva was able to transcend all the problems and challenges through spirituality, or a belief in the healing and restoring power of God.
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