Military wives, swing-shift wives, and wives of the chronically ill share this common ground. There are times when their hero is simply unavailable to them. “Checked out” is another phrase I’ve frequently heard. Recently I ran across this thought in another book I am reading by Jon and Stasi Eldredge called Captivating.
“Let me ask you a question: Where is Adam while the serpent is tempting Eve? He’s standing right there: ‘She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.’ (3:6) The Hebrew for “with her” means right there, elbow to elbow. Adam isn’t away in another part of the forest; he has no alibi. He’s standing right there, watching the whole thing unravel. What does he do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He says not a word, doesn’t lift a finger… He won’t risk, he won’t fight, and he won’t rescue Eve. Our first father- the first real man- gave in to paralysis… Every man repeats the sin of Adam, every day. We won’t risk, we won’t fight, and we won’t rescue Eve … (Wild At Heart)”
In essence, what I hear the authors saying is this: Adam totally checked out on his responsibility to Eve at that pivotal moment in time. His was a purposeful avoidance. I am not bringing up this topic to “diss” my husband on-line. What I have heard over and over from wives of chronically ill husbands is that often-times their husbands “check out” because they are in great pain, in a brain fog due to meds, or in such a state of depression that they are UNABLE to function for them AT ALL like a husband should function. For military wives and those with difficult work schedules, it always seems that the car or major appliance breaks down when the husband is unavailable in a work-related capacity. Right?!
God is your Husband and Provider, dear struggling wife. Over and over I have seen this play out in my life. When I cry out to God to be my Help and Shield, He shows Himself strong on my behalf. Sometimes it happens by giving my husband a time of renewed strength and lessened pain. A few times I have even been aided by relative strangers. More than once, a kindhearted neighbor has stepped in. Most heart warming are the times when my family in Christ has come to my rescue. (Hint: Sometimes you just have to make yourself ask. That can be very tough and humbling. Truthfully, I’m not very good at that.)
To be truthful, though, like Luther’s Katie, we sometimes recognize that our husbands really need to be encouraged and motivated to do their best even with the setbacks and trials that God has allowed in their lives. It is intensely challenging! Katie Luther once robed herself in a black and sat in mourning. Luther, who was in a depressive funk, noticed and asked her who had died. “God, ” she replied, as that was how Luther was responding to life’s many burdens at that time.
Captivating goes on to state: “And women? We tend to be grasping, reaching, controlling. We are often enchanted like Eve, so easily falling prey to the lies of our Enemy. Having forfeited our confidence in God, we believe that in order to have the life we want, we must take matters into our own hands. And we ache with an emptiness that nothing seems to fill.”
We cannot change our husbands. We may be powerless to change most of our circumstances. But, we can call out to the LORD our Maker and trust Him to meet our needs. He has promised grace and strength. Banish the Serpent’s lie in the Garden- God’s Word can never fail. In loving Him first, we can find the strength to love others, our needy husbands included.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren (sisters included), be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:58