“What happens if my husband makes a mistake that affects me and our children?”
This frightening question pops up in nearly every Hidden Heart class, exposing the fear most wives share when it comes to the tough topic of submission. In Chapter Six of The Cry of the Hidden Heart, “God’s Commended Way,” we discover how Sarah learned to honor Abraham as the head of their home.
Most of us think we’d submit happily to a husband who is a wise spiritual leader. Yes, we’re fine as long as we agree with them. (Which really can’t be called submission; that’s called an agreement!) But how is a wife supposed to submit to a husband when she knows his shortcomings by heart?
I once heard it said, “Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there.” This was an attempt to explain that most of what we fear, when met with faith, never actually happens. But in this fallen world, things can happen that are worse than we ever feared. Under those circumstances, do biblical principles still apply?
I was eleven years old. The year before had been our best ever when my entire family (my mom, dad, two sisters and I) all asked Jesus to be our Lord and Savior at a Lay Renewal at our church. We shared a yearlong spiritual high that came crashing down with one envelope.
My dad ran a rental property business that was just starting to be profitable. He, with the help of an inept accountant, “guestimated” what his fledgling business owed in taxes. While my mother was on a trip visiting my grandmother, my dad received a letter from the IRS saying that he had filed improperly and would be put on trial.
I’ll never forget my strong, fearless father gathering my sisters and me in the living room to tell us this grave news. It was the first time I’d ever seen him cry when he said, “I don’t know how I’m going to tell your mother.”
The trial followed with articles in the newspaper. My father was sentenced to three months in prison. To our family, the pain and humiliation couldn’t have been greater if it had been thirty years. While he was gone, my mother received from the government a $17,000 refund check from my dad’s over estimation of what he owed. It didn’t seem fair that he had to go to prison for a filing error. But as we all know, life isn’t fair.
My mom described herself, up until this point, as a people pleaser, living for the approval of others. While my dad was away, she had to face our neighbors, our teachers, and people at church, one of whom wrote to her an anonymous letter that read, “How dare you show your face here.” This was her worst nightmare coming to life.
And this was when she fell in love with Jesus. He wasn’t just her Lord and Savior anymore. He became her Perfect Husband. She began each day crying out to Him to help her run the business and meet the many needs of her three young daughters.
Each night, she fell asleep reading the Psalms. King David wrote Psalm 40, but my mother claims it as her personal love letter to God. Read it imagining what it was like to walk in her shoes during this season:
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord. Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols. O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.
You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings. Then I said, “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures: I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O Lord, well know. I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.
Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me. For troubles surround me- too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage.
Please, Lord, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me. May those who try to destroy me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace. Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”
But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!” As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts.
You are my helper and my Savior. O my God, do not delay.
Those three months changed my family forever … for the better. My dad returned with an on-fire-faith for Jesus. Thirty years later he died as he lived, with a Gideon Bible in his shirt pocket to give away and one in his pants pocket for personal reading. My mother became a God pleaser, freed from the bondage of seeking the favor of a fickle world.
Together, they said they were given two great gifts: knowing without a doubt that God fulfills His promises and finding out who their real friends were.
My sisters and I learned some hard lessons that bore beautiful fruit through the years. We watched our parents run to Jesus to see them through each day and each problem. We saw their joy and peace that passed all understanding … and we wanted it for ourselves. We now have our own unshakable faith in Christ.
So, that’s part of my Faith that shatters Fear story, dear fellow travelers. All our stories will be different*, but this one truth is constant: Jesus is Lord. He is more powerful than your husband’s flaws and your fears. He delights in working all things together for good for those who love Him and are called to His purposes.
*Dear One, biblical submission never obliges you to submit to a situation that puts you or your children in danger. If needed, go to your pastor or a trusted friend for help and shelter. Our recommendations for handling such a crisis are outlined on Page 114 of The Cry of the Hidden Heart.