The Trusting Heart
by Lynne Tagawa
“For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” (1 Pet 3:5-6)
Sarah trusted God. She also obeyed Abraham. Is there any connection? At first we might say, Well, if I were married to such a godly man, it would be easy to submit and treat him well. Things would be great. This is the “if only” lie that destroys marriages. I suspect that many of us toy with it at one point or another.
But in reality, every man, even great men like Abraham, has feet of clay. And there’s the rub. There may come a point where you are certain that your husband (or father or boss) is making a mistake.
This happened to Sarah. Not once, but twice. You see, Abraham was afraid. His wife was so beautiful that he feared that someone would come along and kill him for her. So in two different situations Sarah was asked to say that she was his sister. (Check out the full accounts in Gen 12 and 20.) Problem was, in both cases she was scooped up into the ruler’s harem.
Can you imagine? You’re married, involved in deceit (well, she was his half-sister), and you certainly don’t want to have happen what was inevitably going to happen. What would you have done?
“Look, Pharaoh, it’s like this. I’m actually married. Abraham is my half-brother and he didn’t tell the whole truth.”
I wonder if she was tempted to blow the lid off the deception. But as it was, something really, really amazing took place instead. God went to bat for her. In both cases, God did not allow Sarah to be bedded by these rulers. He plagued Pharaoh. He actually came to the other ruler in a dream, telling him that he was a “dead man” because of Sarah. Naturally, both men restored her to her husband and sent them off.
Sarah was affected by her husband’s questionable decision. Did she fight it? No, although I hope she would have drawn the line somewhere. We aren’t called upon to follow our husbands into sin. She couldn’t sleep with either of those men, and I’ll bet she was crying out to God. She must have felt torn, not wanted to go against her husband’s directive and shame him publicly, but knowing she’d have to sooner or later.
But I suspect that while she may have shed tears privately, she never had a public breakdown. Remember the last words of the passage? She was “not afraid with any terror.”
Submitting to authority is an act of faith. We submit to God, knowing that He is fully trustworthy and keeps His promises. But what about human authority? It is fallible. Our husbands—or fathers or bosses—are only human, after all, and they will make mistakes in judgment. However, human authority is ordained by God, and unless that authority commands us to sin, we obey, knowing that in doing so, we are obeying and honoring God.
Faith-filled obedience leads to peace, the peace that passes all understanding. By looking to the One who does all things well, our anxieties are calmed, and we are enabled to follow in Sarah’s footsteps through the rocky places.
You may be facing such a crisis. Your husband is dead-set on questionable purchases, or perhaps you have a disagreement about the children’s schooling. You know you must submit to your husband. But he’s wrong!
Sometimes disagreements are trivial. Sometimes they are not, and a husband’s poor decision could lead to harm. Sarah was brought to the very precipice. I wonder what went through her mind. But she trusted in God and He delivered her.
Lord, give me the grace to follow in Sarah’s footsteps. Help me to look past human authority to You. Grant me that peace that passes all understanding in the dark and difficult seasons of life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Lynne Basham Tagawa is an educator, author, and editor. The author of Sam Houston’s Republic, (http://graceandtruthbooks.com) she lives in Texas with her husband.