#1) The physical abuse does not seem to have started again.
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
When I put this post out here, I was already pretty resolved as to what I would do about the situation. I have done that. This post spiritualizes the issue in a way that I believe is very important, but spiritualizing an issue cannot happen until the hungry are fed. My post would have been highly inappropriate had the practical actions not been in the works already. I apologize for not making that clear when I wrote it. I was not thinking really clearly, and forgot to check my assumptions.
Prayer is a first resort and a last resort, but praying when the means to answer the prayer is our hands is just a form of lying.
I will add this thought to the post. My sister in the Lord is being counselled by her church to submit, and everything will be just fine. If she will be more supportive of this man, then he will become a blessing to her.
Have they neither eyes nor ears!?
No complementarian advocates abuse. I realize that. But, if you advocate a philosophical position that tends to enable abusers, do you not have a moral responsibility to put safeguards and correctives in place to accomodate the acknowledged weakness in your philosophy?
Where are the safeguards?
God's ways are far above our own. We say that, mean it, and try to live by it but we cannot understand it.
Sometimes, though, we get a little glimpse.
The other day, during the brief discussion on a woman's role in the church, I was asked what my thoughts were on marriage. Later that night, by a sad coincidence, I heard that a sister of mine is being abused again by her husband. (No matter what we believe the scripture says about a woman's role, I know we all agree that it is not this. I would appreciate everyone's prayers for this woman. She is continuing in submission to her husband and prayer.)
As I prayed about this, I reflected on God's glory. His glory could be displayed so mightily, if He would just turn the heart of the abuser. He could do it, and He could do it so easily. If you believe in irresistible grace, then you believe He could do it directly. If you believe man's will must move first toward God, then you still believe that God could do this thing.
He turns the hearts of kings.
How does He do that?
I don't know. It's a mystery. His ways are above mine, but He does it. He sends little birds to whisper things in their ears that cause them to lust over whatever He desires. He hardens their hearts. He softens their hearts. He sends a Daniel to speak the truth to them, or He sends a ravening bird from the East.
He could turn the heart of this man.
Why would He not turn the heart of this man? He could heal the emotional damage that leads to this sin. Know that I do not ask this as a theologian, but as a man doubled over in agony for a young lady that I used to babysit. I helped her with her homework, and fixed her broken toys. It is too simple to say that God will bring good from this evil. He will, and we all know that, but what could be better than turning the heart of an abuser back to the truth, and saving this girl - woman now - from a life of constant fear and pain.
Why will God not take the glory that sits right before Him? It would be so easy!
Go back to the day they nailed Jesus to the cross.
All of Rome and all of Israel were arrayed against one solitary Man. That solitary Man could have brought glory beyond our measure to Himself with one call to legions of angels. He could have made sure His Father received all that glory. He could have been proven to be the best thing since sliced bread.
He passed on the chance.
He didn't pass on that glory because of a command somewhere in Leviticus. He passed because He had His eyes on a glory that I can only guess about. There was a glory in allowing sin to ravage His mortal body, and He never took His eyes off that glory. With every stripe, He considered the reward and stood. Having done all, He stood.
He won to Himself and His Father that Glory that God alone can see - and we who love Him and are learning to see with spiritual eyes.
Praise the Name of the Lord.
I will weep, and I will pray for deliverance for my little sister. But, I will also pray that she will be perfected by suffering, and that she and God will enjoy the rich reward of the glory that passes understanding.
Romans 8:18 TNIV
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
1 Peter 4:13 TNIV
But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
Romans 5:3 TNIV
Not only so, but we [ Or let us] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;