March 23, 2010

The Forgotten Side of Submission

Written By Cary Schmidt

Not long ago, my wife and I were faced with a really difficult decision. We were faced with two very important schedule conflicts and there was no way we could fulfill both. For several days we worked the situation over in our minds and in talking together. No matter what we chose, something very important in our lives would lose. It was literally a choice between a rock and a hard place.

So we did what most sane people do in situations like this—we decided not to decide. We procrastinated. We put the decision off for as long as we possibly could. No matter how we viewed our options, we always ended with, “well, we have a few more days before we have to decide, so let’s pray about it.”

Though we tried to ignore it, the dreadful moment came. A decision was required. Time had run out. We had talked and prayed. I had repeatedly asked the Lord for wisdom in making the right call, and now it had to be made.

This was one of those situations where I knew I needed to make the tough call. So, in a “trying-to-exude-confidence” moment, I turned to Dana and said, “I want you to trust me on this one.” (Like I knew what I was doing.) I continued, “There isn’t an easy answer on this, so just let me make the call, and let’s trust the Lord that it’s right.”

This was a gut-wrenching choice, and Dana had especially been wrestling with doing the right thing. But in that moment, she was relieved. Even before she knew the decision, she was relieved to put the pressure on my shoulders—or blame, if I was wrong. She was happy to rest in letting me be responsible for the decision. After explaining my decision and why I believed it was right, she gave me a doubting glance, but then said, “OK.” The peace that came over her was noticeable!

I took note of the relief and rest that she experienced. I couldn’t help but think,that’s why the Lord tells a wife to submit to her husband. Submission brings relief from the struggle,  freedom from the strain, and escape from the pressure of difficult choices. Submission places the burden of responsibility on the shoulders of an appropriate authority, and lets the heart rest.

So often we hear teaching on submission that makes it sound so difficult and self-denying—and some times it is. But perhaps even more often, submission brings peace and rest. It allows a restless, struggling soul to find safety and solace in the protective hedge of biblical authority.

The next time you mention or teach on submission, don’t forget the blessing of the forgotten side of submission—the rest and peace that comes with it.

Update: Since the original post, some folks have asked for “the rest of the story”—was it the right decision? The answer—yes. God gave both of us peace that we were doing the right thing, and indeed, it turned out that way. Had we done anything else, we would have regretted it. We are thankful that our Heavenly Father guides us in such difficult moments!