When He Gets It Right
“But He’s Not Right!”
One of the strongest objections I’ve heard over the years from wives goes something like this: “He’s not right! He doesn’t love me like Christ loved the church. Why would I submit to him? When he gets his act together, I’ll think about it.”
Sound familiar? Ready for a reality check? If I’m waiting for my husband to "get it right," I may not ever move toward biblical submission. And if that’s my attitude, I’m probably making it pretty hard for him to want to love me like Christ loved the church. Here’s a really hard truth...if I am thoroughly hardened to submission and dead set against it, it makes it really difficult for my husband to express love for me. I become a natural repellant to that which I hunger for the most, and to the love God intends my husband to share with me. I am literally warring against my marriage, and have become a willing participant in the enemy’s plan to destroy my marriage.
I’m so thankful that God put examples in Scripture of godly women who chose to submit–even when their husbands didn’t make the wisest decisions or were just out-right wrong. Could He have included these examples to instruct us?
Sarah Gets It Right...In Spite of Abraham
Imagine how difficult it must have been for Sarah to find herself alone with a strange man in a very compromising situation–not once (Genesis 12), but twice (Genesis 20)! And all because Abraham put his safety above her honor—not at all an example of biblical manhood. Yet both times the Lord intervened before harm could be done:
“But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, ‘Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.’ Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, ‘Lord, will You slay a nation, even though blameless? Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.’ Then God said to him in the dream, ‘Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. Now therefore, restore the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours’” (Gen. 20:3-7).
Do you think Sarah went into the second situation pulling her hair out and screaming, “Abraham! This is not how a husband behaves who loves his wife! I will not do this!” Probably not–there’s certainly no record in Scripture that she did. She, likely, gained great confidence in the Lord from the first experience and was able to trust that He would, once again, change her husband or her circumstances. And God was faithful to protect her and affirm her obedience. So much so that He lifts Sarah up as a model for us of biblical submission:
“Just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear” (1 Peter 3:6).
Does that mean that a wife is to follow her husband into sin? Certainly not–but it definitely takes away any argument that the husband has to be doing his part as a prerequisite for the wife to obey.
My Turn to Get It Right
In my marriage, God used submission on my part to spur my husband on to biblical love. Once I finally made the decision to submit to George–no matter what–the Lord began to work on his heart. In the beginning it was unbelievably hard. He was really enjoying the perks of my submission. His idea of submission was for me to work all day, come home and fix dinner, set his plate in front of him, return to retrieve his dirty dishes, wash them with a smile, and get up the next day to start all over again. And all of this while he took a few graduate school classes during the day and watched television until dinner was ready. He was loving it, and I was angry.
When I complained to the Lord about it, He helped me see that my focus was all wrong. Instead of focusing on whether George was worthy or not, the more pertinent question was whether God’s Word would be the authority for my life. I could sense Him saying, “Just trust Me. I can take care of George.” And that was enough for me. I began applying myself to submission. It took awhile, but after a few years (yep, I said a few years) things began to really change.
In Becoming God’s True Woman, Nancy Leigh DeMoss says,
“Most of our lives are so very explainable because we are relying on natural, human efforts and energy, abilities and plans, programs and methods. What would happen if God’s people believed His promises and laid hold on Him in prayer, believing Him for the impossible–for reconciliation of broken marriages, for the salvation of unbelieving friends and relatives, for spiritual transformation of wayward children, for a fresh outpouring of His Spirit in genuine revival? We might see God release from heaven the greatest awakening our world has ever known.”
If we want that revival desperately in our marriages, in our churches, in our world, we must choose to submit to His Word, submit to our husbands, and lay hold on Him in prayer.
How about you? Are you waiting for your husband to “get it right” before you commit to submission? Can I encourage you today to focus on Him and not him? His promises are sure and He is worthy of joyful, faithful obedience.