Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dear Abby,

I have an urgent problem!  My husband (I’ll call him, Joe) has managed to offend the Crown Prince of my country.  The secret service agents came to him to ask for a favor on behalf of the soon-to-be-king.  My husband refused, in the rudest and most insulting way.  I am absolutely mortified! I can’t imagine that retribution of some kind isn’t already on its way. 
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time my husband has done something like this.  In fact, he does it all the time!  It’s like he goes out of his way to make people angry at him.  And if he’s been drinking, …well, it’s just a matter of time before he has started a fight with someone.
I feel trapped in this marriage.  Divorce is out of the question, but I feel like the victim here.  I end up suffering because of his idiocy.   What can I do, Abby? 
A Fool’s Wife

Dear Wife,
Believe it or not, I once found myself in an amazingly similar situation.   My husband was so bad that everyone called him a fool to his face and he didn’t even care.  He was selfish, mean, rude, and just plain unpleasant to everyone, all the time. 
Here’s my advice.  First you have to accept that you can’t change him.  He is going to continue to be however he is until he’s ready to change…and that may be never.
Second, realize that the only person you can control is you. Once you come to understand that, you will begin to feel less like a victim. 
Remember, God is in control and even when events don’t make any sense to you, they do to Him.   That thought, too, will help you move out of the victim mentality.
Now, for this current situation, you need to take some quick and decisive steps to break the chain of events.  Whatever favor it was that the secret service men originally asked for, do it immediately.
In my own situation, all they had asked was to share in the plenty of our yearly sheep shearing celebration.  After my crazy husband turned them away, I knew that it wouldn’t be long before the Crown Prince’s men would arrive to take vengeance on my husband as well as the rest of us. 
I knew I couldn’t let that happen!  As soon as my helpers told my what had happened I “took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep dressed out and ready for cooking, a bushel of roasted grain, a hundred raisin cakes, and two hundred fig cakes.” I Samuel 25:18  I loaded it all on donkeys and sent it on ahead.  Then I got on a donkey and road to meet the prince.  It was the longest ride of my life.  I was thinking hard what to say, and I was praying that God would give me the right words to calm the prince and his men.
And He did!  God showed me what to say and it worked.  So that's what you need to do:  lean on God for wisdom and grace to handle the ridiculous situations that your husband might put you in.

Mrs. White has only good things to say about the way Abigail handled this frightening encounter.
“In the character of Abigail, … we have an illustration of womanhood after the order of Christ, while her husband illustrates what a man may become who yields himself to the control of Satan. ...
“Abigail saw that something must be done to avert the result of Nabal’s fault, and that she must take the responsibility of acting immediately, without the counsel of her husband. She knew that it would be useless to speak to him, for he would receive her proposition only with abuse and contempt. He would remind her that he was the lord of his household, that she was his wife and therefore in subjection to him and must do as he should dictate.... She gathered together such stores as she thought best to conciliate the wrath of David, for she knew he was determined to avenge himself for the insult he had received....
“Abigail’s course in this matter was one that God approved, and the circumstance revealed in her a noble spirit and character.... Abigail met David with respect, showing him honor and deference, and pleaded her cause eloquently and successfully. While not excusing her husband’s insolence, she still pleaded for his life. She also revealed the fact that she was not only a discreet woman, but a godly woman, acquainted with the works and ways of God in David.
“'A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.'  Proverbs 15:1.
“Abigail’s manner and conciliatory gifts softened the spirit of David. He declared that it had been his intention to destroy Nabal and his household, but that now he would refrain from vengeance, for he believed that she had been sent by the Lord to prevent him from doing so great an evil. He promised that her request should be ever remembered, even when he should sit as ruler over Israel, and he would never seek retaliation for the insult of Nabal.”[1]
How do you think you'd react in a situation like that?  I think I'd be tempted to throw anyone who had placed me in such a dangerous situation “under the bus” then stand back and watch.  It's easy to feel that way when someone gets his (or her) come-uppance, right?  You tend to feel like that person got exactly what he deserved, but Abigail actually apologized for her husband.
Is there anyone who would claim that Abigail didn't have every right to be furious with Nabal?  Would anybody think that she shouldn't have been afraid of David and his men destroying Nabal and his entire household – herself, the staff, and any children that might have been in the vicinity?  How many of us are able to think calmly and/or rationally with a life-ending situation like this one bearing down on her? 

[1]E.G. White, Christ Triumphant, page 144-145

1 comment:

  1. What a godly woman Abigail was. I pray that God will give me the wisdom to be as level headed in stressful times as Abigail was.
    Lisa :o)