I have never liked hearing the phrase, “Because I said so.” In fact, from the time I was young until now, “Because I said so” caused me to want to do the exact opposite of what I was being asked. Prideful? Probably. Rebellious? Definitely. But somehow, “Because I said so” always felt like it couldn’t be trusted. Like it was based solely on the desires of the speaker and on nothing of solid value.
As a wife trying to live as God has called me to live, I am in the process of grasping what it means to submit to my husband. Before I was married, I was EXCITED about this idea of submission. I even thought I was going to be GOOD at it. (Pride is obviously a common theme here, but that’s another story for another day!) I think I was unaware that submission’s definition was quite different than manipulation or control. 🙂 I am so willing to submit to my husband when his thoughts and desires line up with my own; but whenever he presents an idea outside of my plans (prayed through or not), submission feels more like nails down a chalkboard than a joy. God has been teaching me that this idea of a wife submitting to her husbands wasn’t created by a bunch of men who wanted to say “because I said so” all the time. Submission comes because He (our All-knowing God) says so. Ladies, we have to understand that this command was issued because He loves us and He knows best. We also need to grasp that submission is a privilege. Think about it. Who followed through on the all-time most gracious submission? Jesus Christ Himself, when He submitted to dying on the cross for us. Not only is submission God’s plan for us, it is also an honor. I have spent enough time on the outskirts of God’s plan for my life, and I don’t want to waste any of my marriage not listening to what God’s word says about His command for us as wives. Ephesians 5:22-24 says, “22Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord. 23For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church, Himself the Savior of [His] body. 24As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.”
As a service to the Lord. Not as a burden to your soul, or a punishment for your sins. Our submission to our husbands is such a beautiful representation of the church’s position as the body of Christ to Christ the Head of this body. Now, I am the first to admit that I am bad at this. I want to lead. I want to call the shots. Why? Because it feels safe. Because I think I know best. Because I say so. But ultimately, God says that isn’t truth. God promises that He has put our husbands in a position which they are qualified and called to lead us in love and truth, and because of that, we must simply trust and follow. Not because they say so. Because He says so. Let’s commit ourselves to trusting that the glorious plan He has for us in our marriages and in our lives is not only true, but that it is good.
“But I wanted other things more. All the time. I wanted to be spiritually and emotionally filled every day of my life. I wanted to be loved and cuddled by a hundred children and never go a day without laughing. I wanted to wake up to a rooster’s crow and open my eyes to see lush green trees that seem to pulse with life against a piercing blue sky and the rusty red soil of Uganda. I wanted to be challenged endlessly; I wanted to be learning and growing every minute. I wanted to be taught by those I teach, and I wanted to share God’s love with people who otherwise might not know it. I wanted to work so hard that I ended every day filthy and too tired to move. I wanted to feel needed, important, and used by the Lord. I wanted to make some kind of difference, no matter how small, and I wanted to follow the calling God had placed on my heart. I wanted to give my life away, to serve the Lord with each breath, each second. At the end of the day, no matter how hard, I wanted to be right here in Uganda.”- Katie Davis
This quote comes directly from a book I just finished, Kisses from Katie. I love the book for a number of reasons, but the main one stems from Katie’s ability to word so many cries and aches of my heart. I believe as Christians, we all experience what Katie expresses throughout this book. While God’s will for all of us is not to move to Uganda and start a ministry such as Katie’s, He has called us all to more than normalcy. I am the first to admit that I can be distracted by my comfortable American life. Most mornings begin with me sitting down with whatever I choose for breakfast, spending some time reading God’s word and praying to the Lord that my life would make a difference. Soon after that “quiet time”, however, I often become immersed in all the commodities and comforts of this life- the Ipod that allows me to choose whatever music I so desire to listen to; the closet full of clothes that gives me to opportunity to pick out whatever clothes I want to wear.It’s not that these things are necessarily bad, it’s just that they are irrelevant. Meaningless, meaningless, meaningless, as the writer of Ecclesiastes so poignantly reminds us.
I truly believe that the more of our lives we surrender to Christ; the more we say “Yes” to the things He asks of us and “No” to the things of this world, we become less drawn to and satisfied by the temporary. There was a time in my life that food, drink, fashion, money, entertainment, and all other temporary fixes were my only source of happiness. I now find that the more I am around these things, the more I want to run to my Savior who I know will eternally and limitlessly be there. While I certainly struggle with running to other things to bring my joy, I am intensely aware that anything and everything outside of God’s provision and love with leave us empty and wanting. God promises that He will give us more than we ask and imagine (Eph. 3:20), and the more I trust that promise, the more I desire to give up everything outside of God’s purpose for my life. As Katie so eloquently put it, it’s not that I don’t want other things, I just want Him more. Once we taste His water, we will never be thirsty (John 4:14). Once we trust His promises, we will never lack joy. (Psalm 16:11). Will it be easy? No. Will it be “normal” in the eyes of those around us? Probably not. But will it be worth it? Yes. Most certainly yes.
Home for sale without any prospects.
Move to an unknown place.
Within the next few months, all of these things will be a reality for my husband and I, and for many of our precious friends in Augusta. I have officially resigned from my job of three years to spend most of the month of February on a mission trip in Bangladesh. While there, we will experience the discomforts that are all too familiar to those that live there. When we come home, we will be coming home with no income and a mortgage that must be paid. We will then find out where God has us placed for the next three years, and while we have some say-so, it is ultimately not our decision. The world would tell us that this all sounds scary; that so many unknowns aren’t good. While logically this may be true, what does my God say?
The world says I will be jobless. God says my identity is found only in Him and that He will provide. (Gal. 2:20, Phil. 4:19)
The world says that Bangladesh will be full of poverty, filth, and all that is foreign to our American life. God says that while this may be true, I am already a foreigner on this earth. (1 Peter 2:11, Psalm 119:19)
The world says that the uncertainty of selling our home combined with a move should cause us to fear. God says He watches our going and our coming, and that He has a plan and a purpose for us. (Psalm 121:8, Jer. 29:11)
In the midst of all the question marks of life, God is in control. This post, while personalized to fit me, could be the journey of any of our lives. We all have seasons of change; seasons that seem more “out of our control” than others. I certainly struggle with wanting to know the answers; wanting to take the reigns of “my” life. I believe that it is in these times, he is asking us to take away the “I’s”, “my’s”, “me’s”, and “mine’s”, and replace them with His and (ultimately) Him. It is all His. It was His job that He entrusted to me for a season. Those are His people, whether in Bangladesh or America or anywhere else. He created them; and us. He will sell the house He has entrusted to us in His timing. He will place us in the city where He would have us glorify Him most. It is ALL about Him. And while living the question marks, we are promised that He is up to something that will bring us good and Him glory. Who or what else offers us this? No one; nothing. Only Jesus.
When I think of the word provision, I think of “good” things- God providing food for the hungry, a job for the poor, or a house for the homeless. My vision of provision naturally gravitates toward that which makes people more comfortable and happy. While reading through Jonah, God brought my attention to a particular verse: “But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.” God provided a fish to eat Jonah?! This is God’s version of provision?
First, I want to address the issue of this being a figurative story because “a fish swallowing Jonah without killing him is not logical”. With all due respect, since when is ANYTHING God did or does considered logical from the world’s eyes? God made fish, God made man, and I believe He can do anything He so desires. After all, which is less logical: a man being swallowed by a fish and living, or a perfect, omnipotent God sending His perfect Son to die for a bunch of imperfect, ungrateful sinners?
Back to provision. I believe this story is there to remind us of many things, but I want to focus on provison because I know how much I tend to doubt what God is doing (or often, how He is doing something I have prayed for Him to do!) I pray for patience, and then get ticked off when I’m stuck in traffic on the way home. I pray for the ability to love my co-workers more, and then become confused when it seems like that day they are more difficult to get along with than ever. I may cry out to God for particulars, but I often lack the trust that comes with asking for His provision instead of my own wants and desires. I can imagine that Jonah was pretty bewildered whenever God’s provision included three days secluded inside of a fish. He surely must’ve been thinking, “Wait a second, I just admitted that I was in the wrong here, and you proceeded to reward my honesty with THIS?!” But God knew. He knew that the only way Jonah was going to truly cry out to Him was through this bizarre circumstance. He loved Jonah so much that He was willing to provide him with whatever it took to bring Jonah back to God’s heart. And, the incredible part is, He loves you and me the same.
So, what is your big fish today? The thing that you have been doubting God about; the situation that seems like abandonment from God rather than provision. Let’s thank Him for those things today, knowing and trusting that God’s best for us often doesn’t line up with what we would have chosen; but it always turns out for our good and His glory. He truly has you in the palm of His hand, big fish and all.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be chosen. In this world we live in, there are so many arenas that we can be “chosen” or “rejected” in. Growing up, there was so much anxiety surrounding whether or not I would be chosen early for the kickball or “Red Rover” team in gym class. It felt so good to be chosen early on; as if that meant I was important or well-liked. Each day, there are opportunities to be chosen or rejected. We can be chosen for little things, such as a gym class or sports team growing up. We can also be chosen for (what seem like) greater things, such as a promotion, or even chosen by someone to be their spouse. If you think about it, it really is all the same. What we are looking for is to be told that we are “up to par”; that we matter. While there is nothing wrong with feeling happiness when God brings new seasons or chances into our lives, what happens when we are not chosen; when we are rejected? This morning, God seems to be reminding me, reminding us, that we are unconditional chosen by Him. 1 Peter 2:9 remind us that, “we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God”. But chosen for what? Chosen to serve. Chosen to love. Chosen to share. Chosen to show compassion. And ultimately, chosen to follow Him no matter the cost. What is beyond comforting is that no matter what we do or have done, our “chosenness” does not depend on ourselves, but on Him. (John 15:16-19). So today, rest assured that whether or not your boss chose you for the promotion; whether or not that group of people you so want to be friends with chose to invite you to the party, you are unconditionally and eternally CHOSEN by the One who will never reject you.