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  Submission... is it for me?
pamela spurling

Welcome Home!   And I pray that you feel that way here and that others feel that way when visiting you in your home.  Most of all, I pray that your husband and families feel welcomed home each day.  O how I pray for the LORD's direction each week as I prepare to write to you. I have had it on my heart to share more about submission... I know I just touched on this a couple of weeks ago and I am extremely mindful that some of our sisters reading this message are not married, alone, widowed and some, painfully, are in very difficult marriages.  Some have written to share the loss of love and respect for their husband.  Some are in very antagonistic marriages and so a letter from me today on *Submission* is like a letter on enduring pain, life in a prison, or throwing steak knives or something hurtful such as many of us would never experience.  I am in the midst of writing a letter about what to do when the candle has no visible flame.  But, I felt it better to write today on this matter and then next week to share on the other.  For those of you who are mourning losses---please accept my sincere condolences, I pray the God of all Comfort will envelop you and meet your every need this day.

  Submission... is it for me?

Submission: Bible studies touch on this from time to time and I believe we all need encouragement in this area of our lives and marriages.  We're so good at running the show sometimes, that we are lulled into the misguided notion that because we can---we should---take the lead in the home.

So, submission...
O, how we long to be submissive and O, how we hate it... How we long to be in control of our lives-yet how we long to be led by a strong man.  We so competently order our homes, our time and our schedules that we think we could easily run the show completely solo...couldn't we?  Or, could we?  What does God say?  He says we are to submit ourselves unto our husbands as unto the Lord.  We are to live out God's plan for us.  And if we are married and our husband is still living, God's design is that the husband is the head of the wife, meaning the wife is to live in subjection to him: and both living in subjection to the LORD. But we fear, don't we!?  We fear loss of identity, we fear loss of control, we fear being trapped into a life not of our own choosing, we fear being "used,"  we fear being treated poorly or taken for granted, we fear that we won't be cared for if we allow another to choose for us.  All these fears send strong messages to our husbands don't they.  If we pull back and refuse to fully submit, we are telling our husband that he is not worthy of our trust. *We* certainly want to be trusted, but we are often unwilling to allow ourselves to submit to the authority God has placed over us and so we behave in a way that not only does not build trust, but actually tears down trust.

Treading where angels fear to tread, here:  the Bible seems to indicate that the way a wife treats her husband is a reflection of how she treats, relates to, and trusts in the LORD. We see the LORD's command in Ephesians 5.22-24 where we read: "Wives submit yourselves to you own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, even as Christ is head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their husbands in everything."

Everything.  Everything? Everything.

O, it is difficult for us to fully trust in the LORD and allow our husbands to be lord in our homes, isn't it. I have heard women say Oh, for Sarah to obey Abraham, calling him lord, must've been easy for her---given the kind of faithful man he was---but you don't know *my* husband... or some such statement.  One very wonderful thing about the Word of God is that it is timeless, ageless, for all people in all places for all time. It is trustworthy because the LORD has designed it to be so---He keeps His Word.  In it we find understanding of His ways and His desires for us.  And as we have just read, one of His designs is that husbands are the head of the wife and that wives are to submit to their husbands.  Why do we fear allowing God to work His  marvelous plans?  When we look back at all the events of our lives, we see that the LORD is truly trustworthy---that He really does have our very best interest at heart.  We see that trusting in the LORD and faithfully obeying His Word---is like eating from the hidden manna, drinking from that sweet brook, carried in His trustworthy arms---increasing day by day in faith!  Trusting in Him and His ways is true faith...  "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."  (Romans 10.17) 

Then, I would say that faith is built by knowing and doing what the LORD requires.  Knowing and doing what the LORD requires necessitates a life wholly dedicated to God---to prayer and sincere study in the Bible.  It means praying and then meditating on His Word.  So, then, submission to husbands is truly submission to God---A wife's behavior toward her husband is a reflection of her trust in the LORD.  It’s a reflection of time well spent… time in prayer, time in reflection, time in song.  It’s a reflection of where her treasure is…the revelation of where her heart is.

The wise woman will seek to know her husband in such a way as she will know what he desires, what pleases him and what he needs.  This will require listening---really listening and then *doing*---doing those things which are pleasing to him.  If he tells you something that he would prefer, then do that thing.  But we so often take his request as a suggestion, don't we?  We think that he's just generalizing and that we are free to do what we feel is best if he hasn't made a direct command. O, that we would hear the words our husband's are saying... and O, that we would obey the Word of God. Men don't waste words... when they say something and they *seem* like they are hinting, they are really *saying* what they mean! We so often are guilty of brushing off their comments as mere recommendations or lightly esteeming their words.  In the same way we might brush off speed-limit signs as mere suggestions for safe driving.  Lightly esteeming their words: this is a subtle wound to their manhood or headship---yet we concern ourselves with our feelings. We feel rejected later when we have not followed their wishes and they seem distant or cold toward us.  Then because of the results of our supposed or partial submission, we *think* that submission is not for us!  We *think* we have a better way.  Remember that hidden manna… that sweet water from the well of God’s Word.

Now then, if we know their preference, then we need to strive for excellence and do it.  Even if we have a better way... even if our desire to do our own thing is stronger, we must not let it be stronger than our will to obey.  We must obey because it is right, and who will take care of the outcome of our obedience?  Yes! The LORD will.  Because it is His design, He will complete the good work.

We long to be happy in our marriages, we long to be the wives our husbands desire and we have most certainly had lots of opportunity for training on the subject.  Sometimes too much training and not enough application! Think of the countless Bible studies and books written for women with chapters or entire studies devoted to wives' submission to husbands. Books line my shelves that I have studied and books I have scanned---all written to encourage women in their roles as wives, mothers, lovers, women of the Word, homemakers, cooks, gardeners, decorators, etc., etc.  We all seem to be starving for information... looking for the key to success in marriage.  We cannot seem to find lots of models to emulate but we all seem to be quietly searching in one way or another. We all want to be happy, thinking that happiness is an attainable goal.  Happiness in marriage is like happiness in life... it is fleeting, it has ebb's and flo's, flourishing seasons and dry seasons, high's and low's. If our goal is to be happy, then we are sure to be disappointed.  But if we seek to be joyful, then we can surely find that joy.  That joy is a facet to the key to success in marriage and it is found in fully trusting and delighting in the LORD.

We read in Psalms 37.4-5 "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass."

Concerning marriage, how does a woman delight herself in the LORD? She does those things which please the LORD, she leaves off with her own will and seeks the will of the LORD... and demonstrates this by the way she treats or reverences her husband. She submits to his authority. She doesn't subvert his authority---she submits to it. She trusts in him. She doesn't trouble him. She waits on him. I didn't say weights on him... but waits on him. We hear these types of things over and over... we attend Bible studies over and over that tell us all these things.  Yet, we continually long for the key to peace and happiness in our marriages.  What is it?  It's simple, so simple.

It's in submission.  It is the surrendering of our lives to that which the LORD has designed.  It is trusting in the LORD that all His ways are good and that all His ways are best.

I send you love and flowers today...
                   Joyful in Jesus---

pamela spurling ~ The Welcome Home ~ 2000, 2004 

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