I came to church this morning to do some work away from the distractions of home. I knew that the ministry women/wives were coming for their encourage-and-pray morning tea, so I was going to go and work in the office while they did that. But then when they arrived, they invited me to stay, which I joyfully did!
It was lovely to spend time with the ladies and get to know them better; I even got to finally, properly meet one of the student minister’s wives. And it was a good opportunity to gain wisdom and insight into different stages of life (some married without children yet, some married with toddlers, one with kids going to school) and loving and submitting to their husbands.
We also read a chapter of a book called God’s Design for Women, called “Beauty that lasts.” In it, we looked at the classic passages of 1 Timothy 2:8-10 and 1 Peter 3:1-7, as well as women of the bible who submitted to their husbands and trusted in God, even at great personal cost. We spent a bit of time working through what “a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4) means and what it means to “not give way to fear” (1 Peter 3:6).
As humans (and particularly women), we like to take control of situations, but if wives are to honour their husbands, we actually need to let go of that control and trust their leading. That’s not to say that we cannot voice our opinions and concerns, but ultimately, if the husband is to be the head of the wife (as Christ is of the church), they need to know that their wives will stand with them and support them in the decisions they make for the family. Sometimes, they will make decisions that seem unwise, which is particularly where it becomes very difficult to submit. But a “gentle and quiet spirit” will not panic when things seem to not be working out as we hoped, and fear(or perhaps anxiety, as I have been reflecting on this lately) will not dictate what we do (or don’t do) or how we treat people (or how we think they perceive us). It will not cause us to talk to others about our husbands in a bad or untrusting light.
The ladies were able to help make this clearer by sharing personal examples and stories from friends, from times when they’ve trusted their husbands with decisions about money, about moving their entire lives for the gospel, and about supporting their husbands through depression and anxiety and study and ministry.
And the great thing about being post-Jesus’-resurrection people is that we have the great hope of being redeemed from this fallen, sinful, hard world. We know that God is faithful and “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him… For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” (Romans 8:28-29). Not only that, but we can (and should) take great comfort in knowing that no matter what happens, God is in control of it (nothing happens outside of his will) and that “neither death not life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). What have we to fear if we hold firmly to that truth?
The ladies apologised that I did not get much work done this morning, but spending time with them was much more valuable (and I could probably safely count it as part of my training, impromptu as it was).