Are there any verses in the Bible that bug you? Be honest!
And hold on a minute before you jump on your holy high horse. I completely believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. It is life and truth. It’s my guide for living and the guide I used to guard and teach my sons throughout their lives at home.
I stand on the Bible in every area of my life. I really do. I depend on it as my sourcebook for living, and I cannot imagine going one day without the plumb line of His Word.
But, if I am honest, some passages are hard to swallow, even though I know without a doubt that God’s words are completely right and true – and mine are NOT.
I have also discovered through the years that when I come to one of those troubling verses, God will teach me His truth if I am willing to look, listen, and learn.
Take Colossians 3:18 as an example: “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”
When I was a young bride over 40 years ago, that verse irritated me to no end, as did a myriad of other verses that tell wives to obey, submit, be subject to, and respect their husbands.
Granted, I saw connecting verses that instructed husbands to reverence, protect, and honor their wives as Christ selflessly loved His bride, the church, and gave His life for her.
But as a young wife and a stay-at-home mom, getting to be the heroic defender sounded much better than constantly submitting to and obeying my husband. It especially seemed like a raw deal when we moved 1,500 miles away from our family, friends, and home church to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
Within a few short weeks after moving, I found myself doing mounds of laundry, even ironing and starching his Air Force uniforms for daily roll call. And it was me that did the cleaning and cooking while wrangling a wild toddler each day. Plus, I did the budget, bills, and shopping – on the meager pay of an airman.
Most days, the only conversation I had was with a babbling two-year-old. I sorely missed my large, loving family and all my friends back home. Yep, marriage and motherhood made for a tough, lonely road back then.
And from where I stood, my husband’s side of the bargain looked a lot more appealing, even if the flight line where he worked climbed to way over 100 degrees on hot summer days in Florida.
Thankfully, we found a church, and it became a haven of hope for me, a place where I could interact with other women. In fact, I made some lifelong friendships with several women at that church.
One of those women was the wife of a Tampa city policeman. We met through their oldest son’s Little League baseball team when Randy’s commander asked (which basically meant “commanded”) him to help coach a group of 7-year-olds.
Come to find out, my new friend Dawn lived on the street behind me; we could walk to each other’s house and visit. Soon, Dawn and her husband Danny invited us to church, and our lives changed for the better.
But our friendship also challenged me deeply as a young Christian woman.
As I quietly watched Dawn interact with her husband, I saw what true, Christ-like submission looked like. I watched her serve, honor, respect, and love Danny – and enjoy it.
That was a shocking revelation to me. I mean, her life was very much like my own. She had two little boys; I had one. They lived in a modest, three-bedroom home. Ours was a bit smaller with only two bedrooms. She stayed at home and managed a household on a tight budget; I did too. But unlike me, she loved every minute of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Without really knowing it at first, I began to learn from my friend how to serve my family with love as well. Now, don’t let me paint the picture too pretty because it was not an overnight makeover. I had to grapple daily with casting aside my selfish wants and wishes for those of my husband and child. (I still do in some respects.)
But over the next five years of our marriage, Dawn taught me by example how to put Jesus first in my daily life and how to relish my job as a wife and mother.
Looking back, those were some of the best days of our lives. In fact, without those tough times in Tampa, I doubt we would still be married 40 years later.
I fully believe God moved us to that city for that church and those people, including Dawn, to save me from my arrogant, prideful, self-centered self. And in the process, He built our marriage on His firm foundation.
Many times, I look back with gratefulness for Dawn and her lessons on marriage and motherhood. Her lessons went hand-in-hand with the sermons our pastor preached, and the kindness and care older women of our church showed me.
Where would I be without them? Where would my husband and children be? I am not sure our precious family would have remained intact. But by the grace of God, it did – and it flourished.
I praise God for what He did in us and for us all those years ago in Tampa, and I praise Him for a precious friend named Dawn who joyously lived out service and submission to her husband and family right in front of me. Her lessons impacted my life forever.
So, don't get overly exasperated by that Bible verse that bugs you. God has a way of bringing you around to it. Give it (and Him) some time.