Before I tell you my story, I want to make sure that you know that my husband may not be a perfect man, but he is a good man, a godly man even. He makes mistakes…big mistakes…but who doesn’t?
And you need to know that I love him, and I am absolutely sure that he loves me.
Now, the story. But where to start…
I really couldn’t believe this was happening again. I couldn’t believe it when it happened the first time. But let me tell you about the first time.
There was a famine in our land, and being practically gypsies, we broke camp and headed south looking for a place where the famine hadn’t come. We wandered all the way down into Egypt.
Now, my husband had heard stories about the people of Egypt – especially the princes of Pharaoh – and he was a little bit anxious. Maybe more than anxious. He was afraid that when the Egyptian princes got a look at me, they would kill him to get me. Now, I’m not bragging – it’s just a fact that I was considered to be quite a beautiful woman back then. Maybe you can see why the dear man was concerned.
I think I could have come up with a better plan, but this is the one Abram came up with. He said to me, “Dear wife, do me this little favor. When people ask who you are and what relation you are to me, please say that you are my sister.”
It really wasn’t a lie. I am his half sister. That’s not the problem. Perhaps you, like me, can see the problem. However, my mama taught me well. Respect your husband. Obey your husband.
And I can see you rolling your eyes about now. Respect him when he’s acting like a chicken? Obey him when he’s going to get you both in trouble?
My mama isn’t the only one who taught me some life lessons. This God that Abram had been following? He taught me a few things too. Back to that later.
So, sure enough, the princes of Pharaoh took one look and packed me off to the palace. I have to say that I was a little beside myself. What did Abram think was going to happen? Had he even considered what would surely happen to me? Didn’t he care that his wife was about to spend the rest of her life in an Egyptian harem? I expected to be called to the bedchamber of one of the princes at any moment.
But, instead, the weirdest thing happened. Pharaoh’s household began to suffer from all kinds of plagues – disgusting boils and sores, unexplained aches and pains, stomach problems. And guess who was the only one who stayed healthy through it all? Me.
Who do you think was behind all that?
The truth that I was Abram’s wife came out and Pharaoh sent a messenger to Abram. Before you know it I was on my way back to our tent along with a lot of presents which were meant to convince Abram to get out of Egypt.
Lesson learned. Right?
Time passed and God kept talking to Abram and to me too. God even made us a promise. We would have a son. Pretty incredible when you consider how old we were by then – 90 for me and 99 for him. Life was good!
Then the wander bug bit Abram again. We pulled up stakes and took off for the land of Gerar.
And – deja vu! History began to repeat itself.
I know – you’re saying, “Surely, Sarai, you put up a fight this time? Surely you at least reminded him about what happened the last time?”
I did try to very respectfully remind him, but I’m pretty sure he never heard a word. He just said, “Sarai, my darling, do me this little favor…”
And off I went to the house of Abimelech.
After a couple of months, Abimelech began to see that none of the women of his household – his wife and his female slaves – were getting pregnant. Curious and a bit worrisome.
The situation quickly became more than worrisome when God talked to Abimelech in a dream and threatened to kill him if he didn’t return me to Abram. The very next morning Abram was brought to Abimelech who was more than a little perturbed with Abram.
“What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” (Genesis 20:9)
Of course, Abimelech was right. But after he calmed down he remembered that God had also told him that Abram was a prophet who could pray for the healing of the wombs of the women of his house.
When I heard Abimelech say that God had told him that Abram was a prophet, I knew again that God was taking care of the problem Abram caused.
God was taking care of me even when my husband was making kind of crazy decisions.
No matter what Abram did…no matter what I did…no matter what foreign kings did…God was in control.
Because God was in control…because I could trust Him implicitly…I could also be obedient and respectful and submissive to my imperfect husband.
So…how do you submit to a less than perfect husband? The one that is making decisions that you know are going to go bad?
Do what I did and trust God.
He’s got it.
This is the fourth story in the series: Through Her Eyes. Click here to find the rest of the series.
When I was a young Christian, I had a friend who seemed to have a vibrant, exciting relationship with God that was far beyond my own experience. When she talked about God it was as if He actually sat down beside her in her living room every morning and had a chat with her. Whenever she needed something, it seemed that God always provided it and more.
My friend even had a special prayer language that she could use to speak only to God.
The idea of a prayer language put me off a little, but I really did want God to speak to me as he spoke to my friend – like two friends out for coffee on a Saturday morning. Surely my friend had gone spiritually deeper than I ever had. And surely that meant that I was missing something in my spiritual walk.
It wasn’t until my friend had led me a good ways down the path of the prosperity gospel that I began to see that maybe my impressions of my friend’s spirituality were not based in fact.
Many years later, after I had grown much more in Christ, I was in a group when the question came up – “Does God speak to you?”
I was amazed to hear Christian people saying that God did not speak to them very much or at all. After a little more conversation, I realized that many of the people in the group were wanting to hear from God in the same way that my friend had claimed to hear from God. They wanted to hear His voice…to hear His specific words for their specific situations…to hear words straight from His mouth and straight to their ears, words that no one else heard.
Unfortunately, I was in introvert mode and so said nothing. To be honest, I was even wondering if something was wrong with me and my relationship with God. I was not expecting to hear a special word from God. I was not expecting Him to speak a specific message for me into my ears.
Instead, I was thinking, “What about His Word – His written Word to us?”
I didn’t say it then. I let myself be intimidated by those who did speak. I hid behind my introvert identity. But now I am saying it.
God has given us His Word with purpose and intent. Every word in the Bible is God speaking to you and to me. It is the written revelation of God Himself. We don’t need anything else.
We don’t need other people to tell us what God has supposedly spoken directly to them. We don’t need someone to imagine for us what heaven is like. We don’t need God portrayed as our best buddy who sits and has coffee with us.
Instead we need to be content with God’s chosen methods of communication with us – His creation that makes His eternal power and divine nature clear and His Word which was written that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that believing we might have life in His name.
Yes, I want to hear from God, and I do hear from God every morning when I open up His Word with a heart and mind that are ready to listen and obey. Yes, I do read books that people have written about God and about His Word, but I read through the lens of the Scripture that I have been eating and digesting for the past thirty-seven years.
The Word, though old in years, is never old. It is always new. God never fails to speak through His Word to His people.
When you need God to speak to you, go to His Word for you.
Simplistic? Not really. Simple? Yes, so…what’s stopping you?
Open it up every day and listen to Him speak to you.