Sylvia called me from work one afternoon early in September 1994 and told me that she had made an appointment with Dr. Randall for chiropractic adjustment and therapy. the next morning we drove to Asheville for her appointment.
Tony Evans was preaching over the car radio. His subject was "the submission of husbands" (to Jesus). He made a point about Adam which I had never heard before and which seemed meant just for me.
After Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, God said, "Adam, where are you?" He didn't call Eve. He called Adam. Adam was head over Eve and God held Adam responsible. Adam neglected that responsibility.
In a book that I would read a year later, Larry Crabb put it this way:
"...when the serpent struck up a conversation with Eve designed to muddle her thinking about God's goodness, Adam said nothing. Yet he was listening to every word! He heard Eve misquote the command of God that he, Adam, had carefully communicated to her. He was watching when she began looking at the forbidden tree. He saw her take a step toward the tree and reach out and pluck some of its fruit. And he didn't do a thing or say one word to stop her.
"...Remember, Eve was deceived by the snake, but Adam wasn't. He knew what was going on. Perhaps he should have said, 'Now, wait just one minute here! Honey, this snake is up to no good. I can see right through his devilish cunning. He's deceiving you into thinking you have more to gain from disobeying God than by remaining faithful to him. That's a lie!
"'Let me tell you exactly what God said to me before He made you. And look around us. This is paradise. God made it and gave it all to us. We have no reason to doubt His goodness.' And then, turning away from Eve: 'Snake, this conversation is over. TAKE OFF!'
"But Adam said nothing. ...He failed his woman. He failed in his first spiritual struggle to represent God. He failed as a man!" (Larry Crabb, The Silence of Adam (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), p. 11.)
Soon after we returned home, I had a headache, neck pains, and a backache -- the most pain I've had since my fall on Christmas eve. I asked Sylvia to pray for my head and neck. She said that she too was in pain, worse pain than she had before the doctor's appointment. We prayed for each other and then I took a nap.
While I was in bed I thought about how both of us were in so much pain after Sylvia's doctor appointment. Tony Evans' sermon came to mind, especially the part about God holding Adam responsible. Then God reminded me that I did not ask Him if Sylvia should see a doctor. Sylvia had called to let me know that she had made an appointment and I had just accepted it, much like Adam had accepted the fruit from Eve.
Sylvia had mentioned a couple of times that she was planning to go to the doctor if she kept hurting. She had said, "I asked God about it several times and I have peace about it."
But I did not ask God about it.
I got no indication from God about whether it was wrong for Sylvia to go to the doctor. Only that I did not fulfill my responsibility and ask my Lord about it. I shared this with Sylvia, and we both determined to be in submission to God's will.
The following episodes from Our Father's Children may help visualize what happened that day in the Garden of Eden...
A Taste of Rebellion
Not What They Expected
No Place to Hide
Not His Fault
I imagine that later Adam said something like this to Eve...
And I imagine how Adam must have been reminded of his failure in the Garden over and over again during his lifetime of 930 years by the evil influence and control that Satan and his minions now have over his descendants...
Love and Submission
I remember the time Sylvia and I were at a nearby mountain retreat. Two or three people told me about a path that leads to a beautiful location called Cathedral Rock. Soon I forgot that I do not like going for long walks on level ground, much less rugged terrain, and I had this strong desire for Sylvia and I to walk the path to Cathedral Rock.
Someone told me how to find the beginning of the path, and we began our journey. But Sylvia stopped after taking a few steps. She said, I don't understand what is happening. Why are we doing this? Where are we going? I don't feel comfortable about this at all."
I don't think I was able to convince her that it was okay, but I was able to talk her into continuing. After that, I began to feel uneasy myself, and before long we turned back.
The next morning the Lord told me that He had given me that strong desire for Sylvia and I to walk the path. We were in the Holy Spirit's "husband/wife classroom" again. He was continuing to teach me how to provide leadership and protection for my family, and He was continuing to teach Sylvia to trust me and to submit her will to mine.
A few minutes later the Lord used this experience for Sylvia and I on an unfamiliar path to show me clearly what it means to believe in Jesus. Paul's letter to the Ephesians came to mind. "Wives, you must put yourselves under your own husbands' authority as you do for the Lord. A husband is to be the leader of his wife like Christ is the Leader of the people called out by God. He is the Saviour of the body. Wives should put themselves under their husbands' authority in everything, as Christ's people put themselves under His authority. Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved those called out by God. He gave His life for them." (Ephesians 5:22-25 SEB)
If I really believe (trust) in Jesus, I will follow Him down any path He leads me even though I have never walked that path before. And I will do whatever He tells me to do whether or not I understand the reason He is asking me to do it. This applies to every decision I make each day for the rest of my life.
Jesus is saying to each of us: "Trust Me! Follow Me down those unfamiliar paths. Obey Me. Submit your will to Mine." It is not difficult to obey when you know the character and love of the one to whom you are submitting. Love is the bottom line in our relationship with the Lord -- not love of principles or teachings but love for the Person of Jesus Christ.
Simple enough, right?
Well, not really. Especially when we begin to understand the significance of the dream about the lost keys and the familiar person Sylvia loaned them to.
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