When I was a baby Christian at age thirty-three, I read the Bible for the first time. I was thrilled and astonished at what I learned. I loved the Lord and I desired more than anything to please Him and stop sinning against Him. There was one nagging question, though, in the back of my mind. Why did God let bad things happen? That question was settled for me when I got to Romans 9. Throughout that chapter, I was struck with statements like: “For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’” But the one that really made things come together for me was “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’” (Romans 9:15,20)
Well, I stopped reading and thought about what I had read. I concluded that, after all, this is God’s creation and we are His creatures to glorify Him in all kinds of ways that He determines. I doubt that I even knew the word sovereignty back then, but today I would declare that He is the Sovereign High King of Heaven. Ruling over us is His prerogative whether we like it or not. Fortunately, He is good, kind, merciful, and holy. He is the One who determines how best we can glorify Him.
So, I kept reading. Eventually I came to Ephesians chapter five. Oh my! I was startled to discover that as a wife, I was to be submissive to my husband. Having been a very independent person all of my life and having been a feminist, I was floored. The amazing thing, though, was in spite of my former beliefs, I had a new heart and longed to please God no matter what that meant. Once I got over the shock, I prayed and asked God to make me that kind of wife. In fact, I began to have joy knowing I was pleasing God and my husband, Sanford.
Sanford and I had many conflicts, but one kept occurring. The conflict was over how I rinsed the dishes that I had washed. When I washed dishes, as always, I was in a hurry. Because of that, I did not always rinse every dish perfectly. For all of our married life, he would sometimes say, “You did not get all the soap bubbles off the dish.” My pre-salvation self would reply, “If you don’t like how I am washing the dishes, you can do it yourself!” My post-salvation self still, at times, did not like to be told what to do. So, the inevitable showdown came.
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After I rinsed it again and put the glass in the dish drain, I began to wash the next dish. Sanford said in astonishment, “You did it!” I replied, “Yes, you told me to.” And he countered with, “But you did it!” That moment was a turning point in my walk with the Lord. The Lord was testing me and teaching me to be faithful even in the very least of things. Submission was beginning to be my joy.
God, in His kindness, had prepared me to love thinking about His sovereign control over my life; and when I learned about His sovereign plan for me in my role as a wife, He gave me grace to obey Him.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even a Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” Ephesians 5:22-24There is no better place for a wife than for her to be in God’s sovereign will.