Appendix A – Submission of Christian Wives to their Husbands
Original Article by Reason For Living
Originally posted to http://reason4living.com/articles/totw0041.htm
Copyright © 1992, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2003
Posted on this website 08/21/17
There are a lot of misconceptions about submission and submissive people. Before we can intelligently consider what the Bible has to say on the subject of submissive wives we need to clear these misconceptions out of our way. Let me begin with a few simple statements about the nature of submission:
- Only a strong person can be submissive.
- Submissiveness is not timidity, it is not servility, it is not subservience, it is not docility, it is not degrading, it is not a sign of weakness.
- Submission is a sign of strength, not of weakness and a greater degree of submission requires a greater degree of strength of personal character.
Submission is an act of the will — it is the result of a choice, a decision. The act of submission can only come from a choice that a person makes. Submission cannot be enforced upon a person. Either a person submits of their own free will or they do not submit at all. Submission is a gift that one person chooses to give to another person. By contrast oppression is the act of extracting something from a person against their will. Submission and oppression are, therefore, opposite qualities of a relationship and not even remotely similar.
The submission of a good wife is a glorious thing that is intended to help her and her husband to have a contented life together. Problems in life and in marriage are more or less inevitable but when a woman is submissive to her man it is much more likely that those problems can be resolved harmoniously, without unpleasant quarrelling and without bitterness and resentment. Those people who look down on submission as if it were something demeaning, degrading or humiliating are merely showing that they have no understanding of what submission is and that they are quite ignorant of its power.
If you are a Christian wife who has been feeling uncomfortable with the Biblical demand that you submit to your husband then, I hope, these statements have perked up your interest and given you a glimpse of the bright cheerfulness ahead. Being submissive to your husband does not mean, as so many ignorant detractors of submission seem to think, that you should be an empty-headed bimbo, or that you should have no opinions of your own, or that you should be like a doormat.
If you are a Christian husband I hope that you will take care to understand the nature of submission and be careful to understand your responsibilities in response to your wife’s submission to you. A submissive wife is not a justification for an abusive husband. God commands men to love their wives with the same kind of love that he [God] gave to his people … that’s a pretty tough assignment to give a mortal man and it doesn’t include the possibility of abuse.
Usually when I am asked to comment regarding the submission of wives, I find myself in a debate where somebody is trying to prove from scripture that women do not really have to submit to their husbands or obey them. In this article I will attempt to demonstrate the error in such thinking. The argument is not especially difficult but it does tend to focus on the negative side of life rather a lot and consequently doesn’t make submission sound very desirable. So, before I get into the detailed passage-by-passage arguments I would like to try and explain why a wife who is submissive towards her husband is such a glorious and powerful component of an earthly family and of the Christian family at large. The Christian message is, after all, “good news” and hence a reason for delighted cheerfulness and joy, but in these focused theological debates it sometimes seems that the Christian life is all long faces and dour clothes and instructions towards restrictive behaviour.
A submissive wife is one whose heart is inclined towards satisfying her husband and who has made a choice to be led by her husband, to accept his authority and to be his helper in the broad biblical sense of that word. She does not seek to please her husband because she is afraid of his rebuke or rejection or punishment, but because she delights to please him and finds satisfaction in doing so.
For a man, a submissive wife is a pleasure to be around because she helps him to feel peaceful and contented, she is a reliable helper who can be depended upon. He can trust her with his deepest desires and fears because he is not afraid of her scorn or her rejection or her anger. He can relax with her because he knows that even when he makes mistakes, she will be working with him to put them right and minimize the consequences rather than using them to prove a point or as an excuse for rejecting him in some way. A man who has a submissive wife acquires a greater sense of self respect because he knows that she respects his authority in her life and she is not in any way trying to belittle him.
A submissive wife is one who makes a choice not to resist her husband’s will. That is not to say that she cannot disagree with him or that she cannot express an opinion. Indeed the submissive wife is, by definition, a strong woman and will usually therefore have her own opinions and these may often be different to the opinions of her husband. Can she express them? Of course she can, and indeed it might often be wrong for her not to express them since she is, after all, supposed to be her husband’s helper, not his slave or doormat. Expressing her opinions and giving advice and suggestions will often be a valuable part of the help that she gives her husband.
Let us see how this works in life by using an analogy of a road for life and junctions in the road for each of life’s decision points of choices. The married man and woman set off walking along the road of life and at each junction they choose which road to take next. Sooner or later they will arrive at a junction where they each desire to take a different road and hence there is a disagreement:
In the disharmonious family there is a quarrel, there is cajoling or bullying, there is intimidation and bitter words. The quarrel might last for the rest of their lives with neither giving ground and thus they never move on or, finally, either the husband and wife continue along one road together with one of them feeling resentful and both of them feeling bruised and wary of the other, or if they could not even obtain an unpleasant agreement then the marriage might simply fall apart and they separate, each taking a different road. None of these outcomes is pleasant or desirable.
When a submissive woman finds that her wishes conflict with those of her husband she has little or nothing to fear. If her husband is respectful then they will discuss the matter together agreeable, frankly and cheerfully and through the discussion they might reach either a compromise or one of them might change their mind completely and accept the other person’s wishes. If this happens then they can then continue along the road they have now agreed upon with no sense of bitterness and without having expressed any angry words. However agreement might not be reached so then what? If they cannot reach agreement then the submissive wife needs only to obey her husband and accept his wishes graciously. Having done this there are now only a few possible outcomes, all of which have positive aspects and none of which is particularly terrible. In the first possible outcome they will take the road the husband selects and, in due course they will discover that they have chosen a good route through life and both will be happy. In the second possible outcome they will take the road the husband selects but, in due course, they discover that it was not such a good choice after all. All they do is turn around, go back to the junction and take a different road; there has been no need for argument, nobody has felt disrespected or belittled and they have not bruised one another. Although the husband’s choice turned out to be a bad one, they have discovered the mistake together, discovered it quickly, and swiftly got back onto a better road and, in the process, they have strengthened their bond by having been able to disagree with dignity and mutual respect. They are not stuck in a perpetual argument at the junction, they have not separated and the process of finding a mutually acceptable road has not weakened their marriage.
If the submissive woman has a husband who is not respectful and who is inclined to abuse her gift of submissive then still she has little to fear. The worst possible outcome is that they will travel a bad road together until the next junction. Although the road might be bad it is good to remember the positive aspects of the situation: They have still remained together, they have kept alive the possibility of improving their relationship as they make their way through the troubles of life, they have not wasted time and damaged one another in a bitter quarrel and they are not still standing at the junction locked in argument. They have moved on, and therefore given themselves the hope of another choice later. This, remember, is the worst possible outcome. Even with a selfish husband it is still possible that he will acknowledge that the road is bad and that they will turn back to take another route.
I have mentioned this example of a road journey to try and illustrate that submission can bring real and worthwhile benefits to a marriage. The scripture also indicates that the act of submission by a woman is able to influence a bad man to change his ways but even if he doesn’t change, her choice of submission will still allow her to avoid the worst of the possible problems that a bad marriage and husband might bring.
The key text concerning the submission of wives to their husbands
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church– for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church.
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Taken from Paul’s letter to the congregation at Ephesus, chapter 5, verses 22 to 33.
Submission in the Christian world
Submission of one person to another is described in various forms in the Christian faith. There is the submission of wives to husbands, of slaves to masters, of Christians to one another, of Christians to the ruling authorities, and Christians to God. If my own experience is anything to rely on, then it seems that we Christians do not much like the idea of submission and, if we think about it at all, then we do so on order to reduce its application to our day to day lives. In this document I hope to redress the balance slightly.
We don’t really like the idea though …
In the “Western World” of the twenty-first century, the form of submission that is perhaps most frequently contested is that of wives to husbands. It has been pointed out on several occasions and by various people that the scriptures do not say that wives are to obey their husbands — only that they are to submit to them. Now, each of the clauses in the preceding sentence is true; the problem comes with the word “only” that is used to connect the two clauses. The women (and many men) who want to limit the authority of a husband over his wife are seriously mistaken if they think that a husband can expect less compliance from a submissive wife than from an obedient one; the truth is quite the reverse. Obedience is easy. Submission is hard. Obedience demands little. Submission demands much. It is not possible for a wife to submit to her husband without also being prepared to obey him; a submissive wife is also an obedient wife.
The meanings of the words “submit” and “obey”
If I obey then I do what those who have authority over me tell me to do. There must be an explicit command given before I can obey it and consequently if no command is given then it is not possible for me to be either obedient or disobedient. Obedience does not of itself require me to be cheerful, willing, co-operative or contented. I can be surly, rude, bitter and unhelpful and still be obedient. I do not have to be willing to be merely obedient because mere obedience can be forced upon me. For these reasons, obedience is easy when compared to full submission.
In order to submit to a person who has authority over me, I do not need to wait for an explicit command but instead I can attempt to anticipate the commands and thus avoid the need for them to be given. Anticipating the commands does not mean that I can substitute my own agenda or my own will but rather that I am trying to imagine what the person in authority will want me to do next; I am trying to make my will conform to theirs. Attempting to anticipate the commands does not allow me to disobey any command that has been explicitly given — those I am still required to obey. If I am to be truly submissive I must also learn to be contented, cheerful, willing and co-operative even if I do not like doing what is required of me. Finally submission is a choice that I must continuously make. It can be seen therefore that submission is far more demanding than merely obedience and requires much more of me than does mere obedience.
It is also worth repeating that submission is NEVER enforced upon a person. Submission is the opposite of oppression. In fact submission is a gift that one person gives to another. In a marriage, submission is the wife’s gift to her husband. If the husband is wise he will treasure that gift and handle it very carefully because his own happiness depends on it. Submission is a gift that must be renewed each day or even each moment.
Trying to wriggle out of the obligation to obey
It has been claimed that a wife need only obey her husband when her husband’s will conforms to the will of God and that is right for a wife to disobey her husband when what he commands is wrong. At first sight this argument seems to be very reasonable but unfortunately it leads into chaos and emptiness and also leaves the wives in a very cruel “no-win” situation. It is true that all husbands are fallen and sinful and it follows that they will make mistakes and that they might desire and command what they ought not desire and command. It is also true, but more frequently overlooked, that all wives are fallen and sinful and it follows that they will make mistakes and that they might desire what they ought not desire. God knew both of these facts when he arranged for scripture to be written and yet he still gave wives the instruction to submit to their husbands. He knew that husbands would wield the authority that he gave them imperfectly and he knew that wives would respond to that authority imperfectly. It is a terrible wrong for husbands to abuse their authority but it is no less terribly wrong for wives to reject or usurp their husband’s authority.
Some of the people who claim that wives have the right to selectively submit to their husbands have put much emphasis on three New Testament passages – Acts 5:1-10, Acts 4:19 (and a similar passage in Acts 5:29) and Ephesians 5:21. It is worth looking at these to see what they add to the debate.
A passage to consider: Acts 5, v1-10
The first passage concerns Ananias and his wife Sapphira who sold a field, brought the money to the Apostles feet and were promptly struck dead. It has been said that this proves that a wife who does something sinful because her husband commanded it, will be punished by God and that therefore it is right for a wife to obey her husband only when she thinks his will is in accordance with God’s will. The fact that anyone can draw such a conclusion from this passage reveals only how desperate they are to avoid having to admit that wives must obey their husbands. Even a simple reading of the passage will show quite clearly that Ananias and Sapphira were in the deceit together. There is nothing at all in the passage to suggest that Sapphira was ordered to do something that she thought wrong; indeed there is nothing to suggest that she was ordered at all. Verse 2 reads as follows:
“But with his wife’s agreement he kept part of the money for himself …” Verse 2 as presented in the Good News Bible.
“And with his wife’s knowledge and connivance he kept back and wrongfully appropriated some of the proceeds …” Verse 2 as presented in the Amplified Bible
It is very clear, then, that Sapphira was not forced by her errant husband to do something that she did not wish to do; she was not obeying an order that she thought wrong but rather she was aiding and abetting a plan of which she approved. We cannot conclude from the story that Sapphira was an innocent and unwilling partner in wrongdoing and, consequently, this passage is irrelevant to the present discussion.
A second passage to consider: Acts 4 verse 19
This passage concerns the instructions given by the Sanhedrin to Peter and John, and the reply, repeated below, that was given by the disciples:
“You yourselves judge which is right in God’s sight — to obey you or to obey God.” From the Good News Bible (the text is identical in the Amplified Bible)
Let us first state an obvious but important point: This is not a conflict between a husband and a wife but between two groups of male Jews. The relationship between the parties is therefore very different to that between a husband and a wife [footnote 1]. We also need to ask whether the Sanhedrin had any authority over Peter and John. Both parties were claiming to represent God — but which of them had the better claim? The two disciples had received their commission personally and physically from the mouth of Jesus himself. Jesus came to set aside the old religious order and to establish a new one in which the role of the Sanhedrin (assuming it had ever had any role in God’s sight) was to be diminished. This by itself gives strong reason for believing that the Sanhedrin did not have any authority over Peter and John however the words that the disciples used are perhaps more significant; they did not simply refuse to obey the Sanhedrin (though they implied that they were going to) rather they threw the whole command back at the Sanhedrin by telling the Sanhedrin members “judge for yourselves” and thereby questioned the Sanhedrin’s authority to issue the order at all. Implicit in the disciples’ response is the notion that the Sanhedrin knew, or at least ought to have known, that it was acting beyond its powers. In a modern setting the disciples might have said “If you stop and think for one moment you will realize that your own laws and rules prohibit you from giving this order.”
Also it is worth remembering that when this conversation took place Jerusalem was within the Roman empire; the final authority was not the Sanhedrin but the Roman governor and the Romans did allow a certain amount of religious freedom.
For the reasons given above this passage does not give any support to the notion that wives should only selectively obey their husbands.
The third passage to consider: Ephesians 5:21
The third passage “Submit to one another because of your reverence for Christ” is apparently given to believers in general. Consequently the form of submission referred to in this text is slightly different to that spoken of in other texts. Because this command applies to all relationships (including those between equals) it is not feasible for it to always imply unconditional or automatic obedience. Obedience to one another cannot be forced on equals since it would be impossible to know who should obey who! The other aspects of submission remain valid however. Thus although this passage does show that obedience is not always a part of submission it does not give occasion for wives to disobey their husbands because a husband and wife are not equal in role or function.
Very important side note: The inequality of role and function for a husband and a wife are biologically obvious but this does not imply inequality in value. The desire and tendency to award a value to everything is itself a symptom of our very fallen nature. Personally I would rate a wife as one of the most valuable assets in the universe and the bible lends much support to the notion that having a wife is something that a man ought to treasure and value highly.
It can be seen therefore these passages do not by themselves give a wife any grounds for disobeying her husband. To know whether there are times when a wife can legitimately disobey her husband it is necessary to look directly at the nature of sin.
The nature of sin
Without going into all the arguments and texts, the New Testament teaches that sin is, in part, the doing of what you believe to be wrong; Paul in his teachings uses the example of food. Thus if you believe that it is morally wrong for you to eat a particular food — cabbage for instance — then you sin every time you eat cabbage even though God has not prohibited the eating of cabbage. It is your belief that condemns you. Consequently if a wife really believes that it would be morally wrong to obey her husband then she will sin by obeying him and she should therefore disobey him. However, this is a very uncomfortable, unloving and unbiblical position …
A very unkind “No-win” situation
If we say that a wife can choose whether or not to obey her husband then we will often place her in a very difficult position. If she disobeys her husband in order to supposedly obey God then she has automatically disobeyed God. This means that whatever she does will be wrong and this seems to me to be an extremely unloving and burdensome position to put anyone into. God’s instructions that a wife should obey her husband are far kinder and more loving because she can always obey God by obeying her husband. If her husband tells her to do something that God disapproves of then it is her husband (not her) who will have to give an account of it to God. The woman cannot be held accountable for the matter because her responsibility (the bit that God will ask her to account for) is to obey her husband.
An obedient wife does right even when she does wrong…
If the married woman believes that is more important to obey God by submitting to and obeying her husband then she can do this with complete confidence. Sarah obeyed Abraham and went to live with both the king of Egypt [Footnote 2] and with Abimelech the king of Gerar [Footnote 3]. There is no indication that Sarah was held responsible by God or made to suffer for these events even though God was offended by them. Now, keeping these two events in mind, let us see what the Apostle Peter wrote on the subject of submission of wives to husbands:
In the same way [Footnote 4] you wives must submit to your husbands, so that if any of them do not believe God’s word, your conduct will win them over to believe. It will not be necessary for you to say a word, because they will see how pure and reverent your conduct is. You should not use outward aids to make yourself beautiful such as the way you do your hair, or the jewellery you put on, or the dresses you wear. Instead your beauty should consist of your true inner self, the ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of the greatest value in God’s sight. For the devout women of the past who placed their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful by submitting to their husbands. Sarah was like that; she obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are now her daughters if you do good and are not afraid of anything.
1 Peter 3:1-7 Good News Bible
So Sarah, the woman who obeyed her husband even when what he told her to do was morally wrong, is held up as an example of how Christian wives should be. Christian women married to non-Christian men are told to submit to them and, by implication, obey them. It is almost inconceivable (to me at least) that Peter should be incapable of imagining the possible conflicts of morality between a believing wife and an unbelieving husband but nonetheless Peter doesn’t make any special provision for such a situation. Yet even in the same passage Peter tells wives that they are to “do good”. At first glance this seems grossly unfair; the wife is to obey her husband even when what he tells her to do is wrong, yet she is also to “do good”. This apparent paradox is easily removed if we remember that a person can only be held responsible for sin when they have a free choice in the matter. If Peter is assuming that the wife has no choice except to obey her husband then he is also assuming that she cannot sin in what she obediently does. In such circumstances, her only possible sin is that of disobeying her husband. Notice also that Peter describes this sort of conduct as being of “the greatest value in God’s sight”. In other words, this is what God expects and desires from a married woman and it is not the same as what he expects and desires from a married man.
A wife’s obedience to a misguided, errant or ungodly husband does not mean that any harmful consequences of his wrong actions will be avoided, but this should not concern a Christian (man or woman, in this or any similar situation) too much. Our obedience leaves room (a) for us to grow individually in the fruits of the spirit and (b) for God to act miraculously:
A couple of examples of men obeying God by submitting to sinful men
Jesus obeyed his father, was arrested illegally, tried unfairly, judged wrongly, executed without having committed a crime, suffered horribly and died. His obedience provided the means by which we are saved.
Paul of Tarsus was also treated unfairly and wrongly and he also endured great physical suffering (read 2 Corinthians 11:23-31 for Paul’s own description of his troubles). Nonetheless Paul did not seek to oppose the Governing authorities by forbidden means but instead entrusted his case to the one who always judges fairly. His obedience allowed the Gospel to be spread to the entire world.
We as mere mortals are not expected to understand all of what is happening in the world around us [Footnote 5]. We cannot see what God will do one second into the future and we are only rarely aware of what he did one second in the past. We are only capable of living moment by moment and it is in the present moment that we must obey — trusting always in God’s promise that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord (Romans 8).
Where did love go?
I would be surprised if some readers were not by now asking what has happened to the God of love and remarking that all of this seems a little harsh. To such a charge I would reply that in some ways it is very harsh. We are called to be obedient unto death. God has provided a moral law that is totally unyielding. We do not judge the moral law — it is the standard against which we are judged. If there are mitigating circumstances surrounding my failure to reach the required standard then our God, who is just, will know them and take them into account. The fact that I cannot attain the required standard on the occasions when there are no mitigating circumstances is precisely why the Son of God had to be crucified on my behalf: That is how harsh the moral law of God is and how loving and merciful our God is — it his by his law that we are condemned and by his grace and sacrifice that we are saved. Love does not set aside the requirement for obedience but on the cross at Calvary love does deal with the consequences of disobedience.
However, near the beginning of this discussion I gave an example of a husband and wife taking a journey through life and I tried to demonstrate that, in fact, where a wife has a submissive attitude and is therefore willing to obey her husband, the outcome can never be as bad as worst that can happen where there is no obedience or submission. The requirement for a woman to submit to her husband and to obey him is harsh in the sense that it is not optional but it is the harshness imposed by a loving God who knows that this strict approach will always avoid the worst of the possible outcomes and always provide the possibilities for a couple to grow together, mature, gain wisdom and learn to love one another more effectively.
The alternative, if you recall in my example, was that the couple might find themselves trudging together with bitterness and resentment, might be stuck at the same junction indefinitely and locked in unproductive argument, or they might simply separate altogether. The path of submission and attendant obedience is something our loving God has ordained for us so that we can enjoy marriage even with conflicts and disagreements. The requirement for wives to be submissive and obedient seems harsh to those who have not understood the concepts, who have not understood its rich benefits to both husband and wife, and who have not recognized the awfulness of the alternatives.
A summary reminder: What is submission?
As already mentioned, submission is a gift that one person gives to another. Now I would like to briefly reiterate and expand upon some misconceptions about a submissive person.
Misconception: A submissive person is weak.
This is very wrong. In fact a very weak person cannot submit. Only a very strong person can submit fully. Remember, submission is a gift that must be given freely. It is impossible to force a person to submit because that is a contradiction in terms. A weak person can be manipulated and forced to obey but then that is no longer submission but oppression.
Misconception: A submissive person has no control.
Actually nobody is every fully in control of their own lives because nobody can control all of their circumstances. Submission is an act of the will; a submissive person makes a positive choice to submit to another person. Consequently a submissive person has at least as much in control as any other person, possibly more since many people never make definite positive choices but merely drift from one excuse to another.
Misconception: Submission is degrading.
In fact submission is a very beautiful and enormously valuable gift that only a strong person can give. Nobody is degraded by giving, or wanting to give, beautiful and valuable gifts to another person. Submission is a gift that benefits the giver even if the receiver is incapable of treating the gift and the giver with the appropriate respect and care.
Misconception: A submissive person is abused.
Well, it is true that a submissive person could be abused by a stupid person who does not appreciate the value of the gift. However, anybody can be abused, submissive or not, so this irrelevant.
- A husband and wife are bound together until separated by death; they are not free to separate from one another. The husband and one wife are made one in a fashion that does not exist between any other two of God’s people. The dispute between the disciples and the Sanhedrin is also a dispute between “equals” to the extent that all the parties to the conflict are men. A different situation arises between a married couple simply because “the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church” (cf Ephesians 5:23 and 1 Corinthians 11:3) — in other words the husband is responsible for, and will be held accountable before God for, his wife. By itself this is no easier than the original situation and it certainly does not allow the wife to act according to her own will. She now has a choice between doing what she believes her husband wants her to do and doing what she believes God wants her to do. Her own desires don’t get much chance to surface. God in his written word has told her to submit to, and hence to obey, her husband. It follows therefore that by obeying her husband she is obeying God. Nonetheless it might be that after prayerful consideration she will conclude that she must disobey her husband and if she really believes that this is God’s will then she must do it.
- Genesis 12:10-20
- Genesis 20
- The previous passage should also be read — it discusses the idea of doing what is right by submitting even though it might lead to unpleasantness and suffering.
- Proverbs, chapter 20, verse 24: The Lord has determined our path; how then can anyone understand the direction his own life is taking?
Appendix B – Theresa Marie Carucci Yates, April 6, 1936 – May 30, 2017
“He Was Wounded for Our Transgressions”
Worship music by Theresa C. Yates
Eulogy Given June 10, 2017
By Her Husband
C. Russell Yates
AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalms 116:15)
I lost my parents and three siblings, but this time it was different. Theresa and I had become one. I watched part of me die, and it happened over several years. Needless to say, it was traumatic for both of us.
Death is so very final, but eternity is forever. I shudder to think: What if Theresa had not been ready? I would have suffered eternal loss. But she was ready—more than ready! I believe my wife will stand before the Lord and hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant! I am so proud of Theresa.
Scripture says, “We must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22b). It’s a matter of faith. Paul writes: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Again, it’s a matter of faith.
Theresa and I were married almost 47 years, and I wouldn’t change anything—not even the disease that took her life! “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die we die unto the Lord” (Romans 14:8a). In short, nothing is more important than honoring the Lord.
Theresa had Alzheimer’s for over six years. She was in Navasota Nursing and rehabilitation for 16 months. I had prayed that she would always know me, and that her departure would be quick and gentle. Her departure began May 21st and ended May 30. My prayers were answered.
Over a three-year period, I had been reading the Bible to my wife. I finished the final two chapters May 25th. I closed the book, and took it home. On May 30th, an aide told the nurse to check on Theresa. Theresa’s breathing was shallow. Lanette just held Theresa’s hand until she stopped breathing. No struggle—just a peaceful departure to heaven!
My sister Linda pictured it beautifully. She had a sign in heaven that read “Welcome Home Theresa.”
The Search For Relationship
Theresa and I became one, but in today’s world that happens so seldom. Divorce is rampant among Christians and unbelievers alike. Even those who stay together hardly ever become one. The carnage continues.
People search for answers. The God, who designed marriage, gave us the answers in the Bible. But even Christians can’t seem to take the Lord seriously.
What is God’s basic requirement of every man? That each of us should surrender his will to that of his Creator! The rebellion began in the spirit world.
Satan was the anointed cherub until he rebelled against the authority of God. Jesus was the obedient Son. The contrast is obvious: A man follows the example set by Jesus or that of the devil. There’s no in-between.
God’s plan calls for love and voluntary submission. Submission is first and foremost an attitude that accepts God-ordained order. Submission is always intelligent—never robotic! The men who work for me respect my authority. Sometimes my orders are inappropriate or even wrong. On the job, they will do the right thing—that’s intelligent submission!
In contrast, Islam means submission, but it is forced submission. Their false religion is robotic—rules, regulations, and procedures!
That’s not what the Lord asks of us. God wants a relationship—fellowship!
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matthew 11:29)
Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)
In that context, I want to talk about love and submission.
LOVE AND SUBMISSION
In The Godhead
By example, the Father and the Son showed us the way.
First we see the Father’s love. When Jesus was baptized, a voice from heaven said, “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22)
Then we see the submission of Jesus.
Jesus said, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:6)
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done. (Luke 22:42)
In The Church
I’m still on the subject of love and submission. We see God’s love displayed in John 3:16—for God so loved the world! We see submission displayed every time a sinner repents.
God tells a husband to love his wife. A husband, who doesn’t love, is rebelling against God. God tells a wife to intelligently submit to her husband; if she doesn’t do that, she’s not just disobeying her husband; she’s disobeying the Lord.
A Special Calling
I believe that our calling—even Theresa’s death—was for a God-ordained purpose; that we might illustrate and explain a terrible end-times sin that has decimated our marriages and families. The words of Ezekiel were for Israel. In a similar way, I believe the Lord has called me to address modern couples. The words of Ezekiel follow:
17 Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men.
18 So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded. (Ezekiel 24:17-18)
Most people see women’s participation in politics as progressive—I don’t! Women’s Suffrage has given rise to gender confusion. Many people don’t know whether they are a he, a she, or an it.
Women’s suffrage was debated for about 70 years—it started in 1848, at the first women’s convention, in Seneca Falls, NY. I was surprised to learn there were also anti-suffragists. Women like Helen Kendrick Johnson argued vehemently against the idea of women voting. Her book, Woman and The Republic, was published in 1897. I have a copy of that book.
As God designed marriage, the man is the head—he should be in charge! The wife is the heart. She helps her husband, and nurtures the next generation. Children can usually survive a bad father, but NOT a bad mother.
In 1897, Mrs. Johnson predicted that, if given the vote, women would try to do a man’s job, and their job would go undone or be ill done. That’s exactly what is happening at this very moment. I repeat:
For well over a hundred years, women have been trying to do a man’s job while their job goes undone or is ill done.
In the first chapter of Genesis, we’re told that God created them male and female. That means they’re different—Christians should know that!
Theresa and I were born into this time of gender confusion. For years we struggled as we found our way to a biblical marriage. I was ahead in the learning curve, and rightly so. I took the initiative to lead my wife into a God-honoring marriage. To the glory of God, we have succeeded, but like Ezekiel, I’ve lost my wife. I want to teach these things to as many people as will listen.
“Egalitarianism” is a fancy word that means men and women are the same. The idea is diametrically opposed to the Bible, but it’s also a charade. Still, it’s been the pretense of the Western World—including Christendom—for over 100 years! What they call progress; God calls sin.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2a, emphasis added)
Biblical marriage says a man should love his wife as Christ loved the church. It says a woman should submit to her husband as the Church obeys its Lord. For a man to love and for a woman to submit requires sacrifice, and Scripture says that is our reasonable service.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1, emphasis added)
I’m a highly disciplined, detailed man who has been gifted with a fabulous memory. God has used my gifts in my ministry. For over 34 years, I’ve been repairing and replacing air conditioners. My former pastor, Dick Bieber, commented as follows: “You’re not running a business; you’re running a ministry.”
Within a year, I expect to leave my AC ministry and devote my efforts to helping Christians who have marital problems. And P.S. the marriage ministries I’ve seen have been ineffective. Even when they quote from the Bible, they’re unwilling to stand behind the Word. They’re afraid they might offend.
About 30 years ago, I had two visions where I was in the presence of the Lord. I will tell of those visions later.
Jesus has chosen to love a bunch of rebels. That means most of us were pretty far along in life before we could appreciate the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It took Theresa 32 years to appreciate my love. In April of 2002, it happened dramatically. It was a miracle somewhat like the Salvation experience.
Theresa and I married July 4, 1970. We’ve had a biblical marriage for 15 years. Our relationship has been sooooo good it’s hard to think what it was once like.
Most married couples bring some baggage with them: They’ve slept around, lived with someone, been married and divorced, and often have children that become part of their new marital equation.
Theresa and I married as virgins, but we did bring some cultural baggage. The world calls it “equality” marriage.
Now for two questions:
- Is it really possible for a man to love his wife as Christ loved the church? I’m going to tell how I loved Theresa.
- Could a woman actually submit to her husband as the Church obeys its Lord? I’m going to tell how Theresa submitted to me.
A Good Marriage
Most Christians haven’t carefully examined the marital relationship as spelled out in Ephesians 5:22-33. Let me do that for you.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
The head is the seat of authority. Christ has authority over the church. In the same way, a husband has authority over his wife.
As head of the marital body, a husband is over his wife as he would be over any part of his own body. For that reason, a man expects his wife to intelligently submit.
Both Christ and husbands are savior types.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
A wife is to intelligently submit to her husband in everything—not just when she feels like it! If a wife doesn’t submit, is that an excuse for NOT loving one’s wife? If a husband doesn’t love, is that sufficient reason why a wife should not submit? The answer to both questions is an emphatic NO!
So what is the purpose of love and submission? The next two passages explain.
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
It is through love and submission that the Church, the body of believers, is perfected. And it is through love and submission that marriages are perfected. The next two passages are for men.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
In marriage, the two become one in a spiritual sense. He is to be as thoughtful of his wife as he is of himself.
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
So what is the purpose for marriage? It is “for this cause,” and the cause is our eternal relationship with Christ.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Two mysteries are spoken of here. One is the mystery of marriage, and the other is the mystery of Christ and His bride. The former models the latter. A good earthly marriage looks like the heavenly one.
Finally, Paul gives a summary statement.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
These are not suggestions. God’s marital order is absolute.
I have just shown what a good marriage looks like. It looks like the relationship between Jesus and the redeemed sinner who has become a submissive saint.
Let me give some background information.
My in-laws were Italian immigrants—Vito and Lucy Carucci. They came from a Catholic background, but most of the family converted. Pa was known as the rich young brother. He had considerable money in the bank. Just before the crash in 1929, he withdrew his money and built a church. He became the pastor.
They were proud to be Americans and spoke English in public, but church was in Italian. The kids grew up with the idea that God was Italian. Here’s a passage I memorized while in their church:
Cristo, Jesu, a venuto nel mondo, per salvai y peccatori. (Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.)
I will forever be grateful that I married Theresa Marie Carucci. In the bargain came my godly in-laws—they were spiritual giants!
Before the depression, Theresa’s mother Lucy married a man named Leonard Colucci. On their honeymoon, at Niagara Falls, her new husband got sick, and quickly died. That seems to have been the Lord’s will. About 3 years later, Lucy married my father-in-law, Vito Carucci, and that led to the birth of Theresa.
While pregnant with Theresa, my mother-in-law had a medical problem. The doctor recommended an abortion. Lucy said, “The Lord will take care of me.” Eighty years later Lucy is still spoken of as a woman of faith. She got well, and gave birth to Theresa. I have to believe the Lord was saving Theresa for me.
Lucy continued in good health, until a few months before she departed this life, on All Saints Day, November 2, 2002. She was just shy of her 96thbirthday, December 13, 1906.
A Gifted Musician
Theresa was a gifted musician. Without ever taking a lesson, she began to play the piano. At five she was playing for the church. Seventeen years ago, Theresa made a tape that she gave to Mary Laskoskie. It was only a year ago that the tape came into my hands.
The music heard at the Memorial Service was Theresa playing and singing. She didn’t have to play from sheet music; she could make it up as she went along—and she never missed a note!
Marilyn Adkinson asked about music for the service. I told her that Theresa was providing the music. Hey! This had to be a most unusual service. The deceased wife provided the music, and her surviving husband gave the eulogy.
Many were blessed by Theresa’s music. On June 1st, in the night, the Lord gave a word to one of Theresa’s friends, Louise Davis.
Theresa! She sat at the piano and her hands began to play the music in her soul:
Beautiful, effortless, lifting our spirits upward, spiraling in chords and melody, sounds that touched us in ways only God can do.
On her face were tears of pure love for her Lord. We were touched, transformed, redeemed, inspired, joining her in worship. It was God’s gift through her to us—each of those who heard and now remembered forever.
As I said, Theresa and I married July 4, 1970 in Utica, NY, at her father’s church, the Italian Christian Assembly. Our ceremony contained “equality” wedding vows, and that bothered me. Theresa had no problem.
Everything I do is weighed in this balance: Is it pleasing to the Lord? If something is important to God, it’s important to me. Two things are supremely important to the Lord: Israel and the Church!
According to Ephesians 5:32, marriage represents Christ and the Church—that makes it pretty important! I didn’t see “equality” marriage in the Bible, so I tenaciously clung to traditional biblical marital roles. Looking back, it should be no surprise that we argued incessantly, and we did so for 32 years.
Not A Submissive Wife
Theresa was NOT a submissive wife. Did that relieve me of the obligation of loving her? It doesn’t say love your wife if she submits to you. It says to love her as Christ loved the Church. Christ loved me into submission. I loved Theresa into submission.
Later, I’m going to get real specific on how I loved Theresa. But first I want to talk about how determined I was to do things God’s way.
The Bible gives specific instructions on how a godly wife is to deal with an unsaved husband.
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the [submissive] conversation of the wives; (1Peter 3:1)
But Scripture gives NO advice on how a godly husband is to deal with an unsubmissive wife. Still, the husband is head of his wife, so he’s responsible for the relationship. (Remember when Eve led her husband into sin. Adam was in charge, and God held him responsible.) As I sought to persuade Theresa, I had only the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I spent 2.5 years writing a book on biblical marriage. I published Restoring The Father To The Family, on Theresa’s birthday, April 6, 1993. Theresa stood her ground.
From 1998-2002 I gave a weekly marital message on Christian radio, KAGC. Theresa wasn’t persuaded.
For 3-4 years I was a member of Community Bible Church (CBC) where Howard Adkinson was my pastor. He and Marilyn practiced biblical marriage, but even in that church I met resistance.
When CBC closed, I moved to a much larger Baptist Church, where I was a member for five years. In rescuing my marriage, I expected help from the church—it didn’t happen!
Most Christians don’t practice biblical marriage; they were my greatest hindrance. They’ve accommodated modern feminism. Today, one is not allowed to offend a woman.
There’s an 11th Commandment. It’s not found in the Bible or the Constitution, but it’s the unwritten law of the land—Thou Shalt Not Offend! Christians routinely offend the Lord; they were offended by my obedience. Paul writes that we’re to speak the truth in love, and I add: “Even if it offends!”
In December of 2000, I wrote my infamous Open Letter and sent it to everyone in my new church. The women complained, and I was promptly “Churched”—kicked out!
In Joshua 24:15, we read, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD,” but I add: “Even if it means getting kicked out of church!”
For 32 years, Theresa was trying to do my job while neglecting her job. After months of careful and prayerful consideration, I was convinced I was to file for divorce, so I did. My Christian attorney, John Hampton said, “Sometimes that’s the only way to save a marriage.”
Scripture gives us lots of rules, but the Holy Spirit shows how to apply them. In Ezra chapter 10, we read where the Israelites divorced their foreign wives en masse. C.S. Lewis wrote, The Great Divorce where people are eternally divorced from God. The wonderful thing is that our divorce didn’t happen.
As always, I wanted to honor the Lord. I was on my knees begging Theresa to do the right thing.
While we were separated, she went into depression, and called 911. They took her before a judge, and she was committed to a mental hospital. When she came out, Theresa was a new woman.
The Lord had given her an attitude adjustment. Overnight, she became a biblical wife. We suddenly had a wonderful marriage.
“We’ve wasted so much time,” Theresa said. I replied, “With the Lord, it’s how things end that counts.” And the way our marriage went, from that day forward, was magnificent.
There were no more arguments. Discussion? Yes! Arguments? No! Theresa was able to relax and be comfortable with my headship. She no longer had to carry the burden of making family decisions. But she was free to contribute her ideas and suggestions.
Loving My Wife
After 32 years, after much tribulation, after an act of God, Theresa transformed our marriage by the simple act of submission.
Is that not how the sinner gets saved? By the simple act of submission! On the Damascus road, Paul saw the light—he submitted! Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind and ate grass in the field for 7 years until he saw the light—he submitted! The woman at the well saw the light immediately when she met Jesus—she submitted. Some come easy; some come hard; but some never make it.
I continued to love Theresa “as Christ loved the Church.” Considering how Christ loved the Church: That was a pretty big assignment.
To love a wife, as a man loves himself, he should respect her feelings, opinions, desires, wishes—even her feminine sensibilities. He should give her as much freedom as possible. Like, the virtuous woman in Proverbs, she will be praised.
Theresa got almost everything she wanted, and that included:
- Two Steinway pianos
- Expensive artwork
- A beautiful harp
- The house as her domain
- Her choice of furniture
- The house decorated to her specifications
The junk she accumulated over 38 years was okay with me, as long as it was stored in the closet, attic, etc. She kept Deborah’s baby furniture for 40 years. You should have seen the stuff I threw away or gave away after Theresa came down with Alzheimer’s.
But it was possible the Lord might heal Theresa. So I kept the Steinway. I didn’t want to explain that I had given away her piano.
When she asked for wood floors, I said “No.” I told her they would be ruined if we ever had a flood. On our anniversary of 2012, we had a plumbing failure in the middle of the night. I couldn’t hear the water running, but Theresa could. She got me up and told me to put on my waders.
In the bathroom, I shut off the water supply, and then started laughing. Our daughter had just sent a “Happy anniversary,” text message. By 4am the extraction people had things under control. And guess what? The floors didn’t buckle because they were of ceramic tile.
The Conflict In Retrospect
I’m reminded of a man named Job. He was a righteous man, who suffered for God’s purposes. Neither Job nor his godly friends understood why he was suffering. But His friends blamed him for the trouble. History repeats.
As I continued to love my wife, the conflict raged, and everyone blamed me. When I was kicked out of the church, the pastor denounced me before several hundred people.
Truth is truth, even if no one believes it. A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it—Anonymous
We live in a feelings-driven, feminized society—you’re not supposed to cause a commotion! Compare that with the early church where Paul and the Apostles regularly incited riots.
It was my resolute defiance of our perverse culture—it was my resolute defiance of a decadent church that brought Theresa to repentance. I presented her faultless to the Lord.
In April 2002, Theresa repented, and a most amazing thing happened. Until then, I was a really bad husband. Suddenly, in my wife’s eyes, I became Mr. Wonderful. Despite our marital transformation, there are Christians and family members who are still angry over how I handled the situation over 16 years ago.
Our heavenly relationship continued even despite the Alzheimer’s disease that afflicted Theresa since January of 2011. She progressed from mild, to moderate, and then to severe. In January of 2016 she broke her hip, I put her in Navasota Nursing; there she received wonderful care.
A Renewal Of Our Wedding Vows
July 4th was our wedding anniversary, and we had married on a Saturday. In 2015, July 4th again fell on a Saturday. I arranged to re-do our wedding vows, but this time I used biblical vows from the church I now attend.
Theresa was living in Round Rock with a caregiver. Brittany was the preacher, Deborah was the ring bearer, and the witnesses were Milo the dog and Butterscotch, the cat. After the ceremony, we took pictures—Theresa loved it!
Those pictures were on display in the narthex.
Theresa In The Nursing Home
I visited Theresa regularly, held her hand, read the Bible to her, and prayed with her. She was being loved and cared for like royalty. She always knew me, and told me I was wonderful. She said, “I love you so much.” When she could hardly speak—when she couldn’t even recognize her own picture—she could clearly enunciate her love for me.
Theresa understood little, so Dr. Jones gave me some advice: “If she doesn’t understand, just read Scripture to her.” I did that for almost three years. Alzheimer’s patients have an understanding that comes and goes. Sometimes they come across as brilliant, while at other times they’re totally out of it.
One night while she was cogent, I had just finished reading Scripture, when she asked how she was doing. I said, “You’re a good wife; you’re nuts about me.” She understood and laughed heartily. “You are something else,” she said.
Alzheimer’s patients can be very funny. On May 23, 2016 I asked my wife, “When do you want to go be with Jesus?” With a big smile she answered, “Any day! How about you?”
Later, I got a report from Nikki who was feeding Theresa. “That stuff is disgusting,” said Theresa. “No it isn’t replied Nikki.” “Then you eat it,” said Theresa.
Once I showed Theresa a beautiful picture of herself. “Do you know this lady?” I asked. Her answer: “I’ve seen her around, but I don’t know her name.” Later I repeated the procedure. That time her answer was, “Me.”
I Will Never Leave You
To His friends, Jesus says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” My commitment to my friend, Theresa, was the same. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
On Christmas of 2015, in Round Rock, we took our last good family picture—Theresa, Russell, Deborah, and Freddie. On January 13, she broke her hip, and quickly went into the severe stage of Alzheimer’s. She never walked again, and had to be fed. Through thick and thin, I’ve been with Theresa.
If you’re a bad person, and get Alzheimer’s, the real you will come out. In her last years, months, and days, nothing but good has come from Theresa.
Theresa’s trip across the Jordan took a long time. It was really hard on both of us, but for a purpose. I was with Theresa all the way. As I said earlier, she was ready—really ready!
The Faith of Abraham
In Joel 2:28 we read “Your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” Most Christians live to please themselves, so that passage is not for them.
I live to please the Lord. That makes me a good candidate for Joel 2:28. About 30 years ago, when I was young, I had two visions, in which I was in the presence of the Lord—it was wonderful! In the first vision, I asked for the faith of Abraham.
I didn’t have a clue what I was asking for, but I was convinced that it was mine. I have since learned: The faith of Abraham is long-term and requires no affirmation. Most of all, the faith of Abraham requires patience and endurance.
Our 32 years of conflict required the patience and endurance of Abraham. I’ve loved Theresa with two loves: For 32 years I showed commitment love. Since then, we’ve shared endearment love.
My recent online book is entitled, Two Loves—425 pages. I have a shorter paper entitled, How To Have A Good Marriage Without Changing Wives—225 pages! The book and the paper were written starting in September of 2014, while I was alone, and Theresa was with a caregiver.
What Was My Motivation?
More than anything else, I want to please the Lord. Theresa was not a biblical wife, and I couldn’t sweep that under the rug. In public, Theresa appeared as the perfect lady, but at home she repeatedly and incessantly challenged my headship.
What if I had not been a Believer? What if I had been a casual Christian? I would have done what most Christian men do. I would have let her run the show, and I would have taken a back seat. Or I would have divorced her.
The Moral High Ground
Because the woman is the heart of the marriage, a spiritual awakening will often come through the wife. A good example is seen in the movie, The Case for Christ. Both husband and wife were atheists. Leslie came to faith first, and then her husband, Lee, followed.
So often, a wife comes to faith, but her husband remains unsaved. So how is such a wife to win her husband?
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the [submissive] conversation of the wives; (1Peter 3:1)
Men were born to rule, so they expect their wives to submit—intelligent submission! That’s why a submissive wife can win a lost husband. Multitudes of Christian women are disobedient—not just to their husband, but to the Lord! The husband remains unsaved.
My second vision closely followed the first one. I was in the presence of the Lord. Not a word was spoken, but the Lord quickened a passage to my heart: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Just being in the presence of the Lord was exciting.
Scripture says we’ll all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Many husbands will have to explain why they didn’t lead, and wives will have to explain why they didn’t follow. Theresa and I won’t have that problem.
On *p115 of her book Created To Be His Help Meet, Debi Pearl writes the following.
A man cannot cherish a strong woman who expresses her displeasure of him. You say that he should model Christ’s love regardless of how she acts. Is that what you want? Is that what Christ wants? Do you want your husband to be forced to seek supernatural power just to find a way to love you? Do you want to be another of his trials—his greatest example of overcoming adversity?
My wife’s resistance continued for 32 years, and it did take supernatural power for me to love her. My second most significant achievement in life was overcoming that trial.
The book of Revelation promises many wonderful things for the “overcomer.” Despite the resistance of my Christian friends, I rescued Theresa, and prepared her for eternity, so I guess that makes me an “overcomer.”
But Romans 8:28 has not been repealed. In the process, she prepared me for eternity. I will be eternally grateful that Theresa was my wife for almost 47 years. The next time we meet, the pain and suffering will be past.
We close with a hymn.
“Be Still My Soul”
by Catharina von Schlegel, 1697-?
Translated by Jane Borthwick, 1855
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.