1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble
Every time I read this passage one word jumps out at me. Well ok, submit jumps out too, but the word I am talking about at the moment is “fear”. Is it really fear that prevents me from submitting? That’s what this seems to say. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
What is fearful about submitting and obeying and putting yourself under your husband? As I think about it, pretty much everything. Fear of not being in control. Fear of the future. Where will he take me? Even my own rebellious attitude of “I want to make my own decisions and choices and control my own life!” really boils down to will this man do the right thing?
So, what is the antidote to this fear? I think it is in the previous sentence. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. The antidote to fear is hope, here used more as trust. Fortunately the key is not trust in a fallible, human husband, although a man who has proven himself trustworthy certainly makes this job easier. My own natural reaction of taking control myself is just plain foolishness. Do I really trust myself to have the answers and to do the right thing? No, the key is putting my trust and my hope in God. My trust in myself is foolish. My hope in my husband is a human hope that is more of a wish. My hope in God is hope as a certainty, a sure thing. So I trust God to lead my husband. And then I trust my husband to lead me.
Trusting God to lead my husband, rather than taking matters into my own hands, is one of the hardest things God asks me to do. It is a battle that I fight every single day. Recognizing that fear is at the root of my rebellion toward God and my husband changes the problem. If it was just rebellion then more self-control would be all I needed. But it’s not. It is fear. And while self-control does help me face fear, it doesn’t make me feel ok about it. Trust and Hope in God can actually replace the fear and anxiety with peace and joy. Only God can do that.
©Rebecca A Givens, 07/04/11