TITLE: Perplexed, yet Triumphant
By Catherine Craig
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Sue strode toward the kitchen, seething. It wasn’t enough that Stan mocked her every chance he got, making her the butt of jokes for Lord-only-knows what reason. She cringed at the memory of his derisive laughter, his jesting about her as though every little thing she did was the most ridiculous thing imaginable.
“Do you realize he’s laughing at you?” Remembering Mike’s outspoken question, his shocked expression in defense of her after seeing such arrogance from Stan, soothed, but couldn’t quite erase her hurt. She’d shrugged when he’d commented on it; what else could she do? She was married to Stan!
“That son of Adam!” Sue muttered, and smiled in the midst of her pain, recalling an expression Deby Pearl, author of “Created To Be His Helpmeet” used, which also reminded Sue of Stan’s humanity. “He’s such a dichotomy!” she thought. “He dotes on me in public only to tear me down with seemingly harmless put-down’s and veiled ridicule at home.” Day in and day out, it was the same. “Why God? Why?” Sue cried, turning her eyes toward the ceiling. “Why can’t his behavior be consistent? I’d open my heart to him! I wouldn’t have to keep my guard up toward him if I knew he wouldn’t crush me with a word, hurt me with no apology! What is he – stupid? Blind? Mean?”
Sighing, Sue slumped onto a chair, burying her face in her hands. How could she influence other ladies in their marriage support group when she didn’t even know what to do about her husband! Their last meeting had been revealing.
“Okay, let’s place one prayer request each of us wants answered over the next few months in this container,” Sue’d suggested, lifting the lid of a small square glass box decorated with painted flowers. “Do you know what you’re going to pray for?”
Silence had met her question as each woman gathered around the kitchen table lowered her eyes. Then, an older woman in her mid-fifties had exclaimed, “Kindness!” Everyone’s attention was riveted to the speaker. “Yes, that’s it,” she’d added. “I want my husband to be kind to me.” Nods and murmurs of agreement confirmed lack of kindness to be a common problem.
Still perplexed, Sue reached for her Bible. What was it that Paul had written in 1 Peter Chapter 2 prior to his phrase opening up Chapter 3 with the words, “Wives, in the same way…”? What or who had Paul been referring back to? Sue needed help recalling an old lesson.
“Let’s see,” she murmured aloud, “…it’s commendable if a man” – (or woman) she changed it as she followed the print with an index finger, skipping over irrelevant words – “bears up under the pain of unjust suffering…suffer for doing good and endure it…commendable before God.”
Suffering? Yes, Sue was hurting. Being mocked, toyed with, and condescended to, by an arrogant but otherwise well-intentioned man hurt! “…To this you were called, because Jesus suffered for you, leaving you an example…”
“Hmmm,” she said aloud, reading on. “When they hurled their insults at him, he didn’t retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead…” ‘Instead’. She mulled the word over. Instead, he did what?
“Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly,” Sue read – once – then twice – then a third time. “Oh yeah! That’s right!” she exclaimed, feeling as if the lights had come on. “Oh my gosh!”
That’s what Jesus had done! He’d committed himself to his father in the face of careless cruel treatment by ignorant men, even informing pompous Pontius Pilate that if he’d wanted to, Jesus could have called legions of angels to defend him. Instead Jesus had committed himself to his Father and walked forward to the Cross – for her – for the ladies – even for Mike who could give a fig about what Jesus had done.
Sue read on, “…do what is right; don’t give way to fear.” Recognizing marriage was meant to shape her into the image of Christ, she sighed happily, though resignedly. Thinking of how Stan had changed since becoming a Christian, Sue relaxed.
This too would pass, but until it did, she’d press forward, thankful for the prospect of suffering according to the will of God – as Jesus had for her. Didn’t Jesus say, “To this end you were called…?”
“Yup, I can only change me, not him,” she reflected aloud and closed her Bible. “Faith, not fear,” Sue murmured and stood to face the day.
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