Monday, March 22, 2010

A Nagging Wife Tells Her Side

Over a cup of coffee yesterday Bea opened her heart. With her permission I share it here. She begins with simple honesty:
          It was getting a little aggravating.
          I'd nagged my husband Sam three times already. Each time he was noncommittal. Kind of ignored me. Well, it needed to be done so I tried to phrase it differently.
          At the breakfast table: "Honey, did you forget that you were going to -- ?"
          As he went out to the garage, "I thought you said that today you were going to -- ."
          When he came in for lunch it was, "Well, are you going to do it this afternoon or this evening?" At that he got up and went out to get the mail. There was no conversation while we ate. My attitude wasn't getting any better, so it's just as well that I didn't say anything else right then.
          Clearing off the dirty dishes I prayed about it. "Lord, how many times do you want me to remind him; seven times?"
          I guess I was hoping that Jesus would say the same thing he told his disciples, "Not seven times, but seven times seventy." (Of course, what he was talking about was forgiving, not nagging!)
          But a voice seemed to say to me, "If you could understand how much I love your husband and how he pleases me you wouldn't be nagging him."
I had decided not to judge either Bea or Sam Moore, and I knew not to interrupt. Soon with an effort of composure my friend continued. 
          I was speechless.
          Could it be true? Was God really pleased with him? Sam and I had both accepted Jesus as Savior early in our teen years. And, yes, I could see some spiritual growth in his life -- Bible reading, and praying at meal time, and - well, I guess there's been a number of other evidences that I haven't stopped to consider.
          But God could see that he definitely was not Billy Graham yet. He had a long ways to go before he'd meet my standard for a Christian man.
          Bea bowed her head as if searching within her heart for permission to continue. I felt that there was more that needed to be aired.  With a deep breath and smile she went ahead . . .
          Later that afternoon I had time to sit down with my Bible while Sam ran out to do some Saturday errands. On my pad were two questions.
          1. Does God really love us?
          2. Does He like us? (meaning those believers who aren't doing all they ought to do.)
          I was confident about answer #1. John 3:16 clearly states that God so loved the world, and obviously that includes everyone. In sending Jesus, His Son to die for our sins was the ultimate display of His awesome love.
          But what about believers? Does He like people who aren't acting very spiritual? You know the kind I mean.
          Thumbing through the Gospels some words from Matthew 25 leaped up at me. Jesus, giving the parable of the talents in verses 14-23, relates "You have been faithful in a little . . . come and share your master's happiness!" Well, I could agree that Sam was faithful in a little bit of a little.
          Then a verse I'd underlined a long time ago came to mind. In John 5:19 Jesus said He does what He sees the Father is doing. I had always related this to His wonderful miracles and displays of compassion for the crowds. Now it dawned on me that Jesus had also accepted those 12 disciples, none of whom were sterling examples of manhood. He had love, patience, and compassion on those struggling men. This was what the Father was doing .
          God was settling for less than I was willing to. I pictured myself standing before Sam. "Yes, of course I love you. But I really don't like you very much. You hardly have any faith at all." Actually I hadn't said those words aloud, but they had come to mind many times.
          Now a sudden flash turned my own words around. "You hardly have any faith at all." Clarity brought a sudden wince. I was the one lacking faith!
Bea’s confession was from her heart. I would not have had such bravery, even with a good friend supportively listening and praying silently. I was patient and silent. Then . . .
          God was not upset with Sam's progress in the Christian life. As a wise parent He just saw that some wrong choices had slowed down the process of getting to where Sam was headed.
          The doorbell interrupted my musings. It was my new neighbor, Colleen wanting to borrow a large platter. She balanced ten month-old Leah on her hip, but Leah wanted down. We watched her take a few wobbly steps and then - boom! down she went. Leah giggled and held out her hands to her mother. Colleen scooped her up with a big hug.
          Then Leah wanted down again. A few more steps and she lost her balance. More giggles. More hugs. I couldn't help but enjoy watching them.
          I was still smiling as they crossed the lawn.
Here Bea paused again. I waited for her boldness to assert itself again. Yes, I wanted to hear the rest of the story. She went on . . .
          Is God like that? Yes.
          My heart melted with gratitude. God sees me and He's not discouraged. He wants me to walk on my own, but He knows the stage I'm at right now. God likes me and He likes Sam.
          I slipped to my knees. Oh Lord, forgive me for judging your child. Wash the nagging out of my heart and off my lips. Fill my life with the joy that comes from trusting You completely.
          A nagging woman knelt. A healed woman arose.
I had to agree, that was a lesson I needed myself.
by Elaine Hardt © 1993