I read some things this morning that frustrate me a bit. It was an essay on God's design for marriage and gender roles. Written by a man, it focused on women and their submission in the context of marriage. A couple things stood out to me.
First, the article pointed to the example of one particular woman's love for and submission to her husband by saying it was so faithful that the Lord raised up generations after her that would call her blessed. He then points to a biblical woman, Sarah. Although she had difficulty, he notes that what set her apart was the fact that she adorned herself with a gentle and quiet spirit by submitting to her husband.
To be clear, it was not Sarah's love and faithfulness at play here.
You may recall that Sarah laughed at God. Sarah schemed with her hubby to sidetrack God and take matters into her own hands. Sarah was mean to Hagar and resented her involvement with her husband (who wouldn't?!?). Not exactly a picture of love and faithfulness.
Isn't it interesting that Jesus, the only One who ever submitted perfectly, died not for the submissive wife. He loved and died for an arrogant, unsubmissive and flat out disobedient and loudmouthed bride, so that, generations would be raised up and be named, blessed.
Second, noting 1 Peter 3, the essay asks, "Have you ever noticed that women who place their identity in external appearances tend to be loud?" I'm not sure I have a category for this interpretation of that passage. Suffice to say that the equation does not add up...on many levels. I wonder if the same holds true for men? This observation is quite frankly, embarrassing. If we were talking face to face I may just have shouted that, which may or may not be an indication of where I place my identity.
Finally, in a sad (but all too common) interpretation of 1 Peter 3, the essay declares that by your submission, you can guarantee your salvation and will be called one of Sarah's children. This statement contradicts the entire narrative of the Bible which is, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Whoever believes has eternal life.
The article also maintains that it would not be surprising if one day, when the saints are gathered together before the Lord, there is a large group of women standing next to Sarah, for in the midst of their marital hardships they trusted that the Lord would vindicate them. However, the article left out multitudes of other women.
Standing next to Sarah will be all the other women (not just wives) who doubted, laughed, mocked, distrusted, schemed, resented, hated, and lied.
Standing next to Sarah will be women who couldn't muster up what the world expected of them, couldn't believe the things the church wanted them to believe, couldn't trust anymore because of shattered dreams, couldn't stand up anymore because of the heavy burdens placed on their back.
In fact, some may not be standing. They may be on their knees weeping, Weeping that it's all over. Weeping that the striving has ceased. I know the bible says no more tears, but tears are divine. God catches every one. Tears demonstrate the most human and raw emotion possible. Tears brought us near. Tears will usher us in.
Standing next to Sarah will be every single woman who by no accomplishment of their own faith, was loved by the only faithful One.