The road sign flashed its yellow lights adamantly at our minivan as we rolled by, “Snow tires or snow chains only.” It was a little late for that warning; we couldn’t go back now. Our new family vehicle was packed with precious cargo including my two children, the youngest being only eight days old at the time. I sat cringing in the back seat, still extremely tender from the c-section surgery the week before. After a week of restless recovery cooped up in the house, we had decided we wanted to take a leisurely drive to Park City for the afternoon to witness the Sundance Film Festival.
What had started out as a pretty picture of winter on the way there had quickly turned into a monster of a snowstorm. My mind raced through our current situation. The road had not been plowed like we had expected. We did not have chains or snow tires. Visibility was limited. The back windows refused to stay clear enough for Britton to see out of. We had just very narrowly escaped a collision…and we hadn’t even ascended Parley’s Summit, which was sure to be a slippery mess. This was bad, very bad. I sat in silence. Britton clutched the steering wheel and continued on. All I could think was “I’m so glad I’m not the one driving,” and then I prayed mightily.
Four hours later we finally did make it back to the safety of our home. I truly thank God for that, and will count that adventure as novice mistake of a few Texans. Nonetheless, God painted a beautiful picture for me that afternoon, a picture that weighs on my heart even as I write.
Ephesians 5:23-27 says, “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior…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.”
This chapter in Ephesians beautifully describes the roles laid out by God for the husband and wife in the family unit. I readily admit that parts of this chapter left me confused and even angry earlier in my life because of my own lack of understanding. But God has revealed this wonderful truth to me, and now I treasure what I used to resent.
What particularly weighs on me today is how God describes the role of the husband. It is a difficult, practically impossible command. Essentially, God has told the husband to lead his wife in a way that will draw her nearer to Christ edifying her even in the dark nights of the soul. Not only must he love her in this way, but also God has placed him as the head of the home. This doesn’t mean that women are any less important or any less valued by God. What it simply means is that God holds the man responsible for the family. The pressure is on our husbands to lead our households towards the cross. That is a heavy burden to bear. As Britton drove us through the storm that day, he felt the weight of our lives in his hands at the wheel. The comforting thing is that God was guiding him; He had his hand on us the entire way.
I want to open this up for a bit of dialogue by having you comment about these questions.
-What might the role of wives look like in our 20th century culture? Does this scripture still apply?
– How does the weight of a husband’s leadership relate with the weight and burden of a pastor’s leadership? How can we as a church body be encouraging to our leaders in light of this?