Wednesday, December 5, 2001
Bruce Wilkinson describes this poignant scene from the epic novel and movie, "Grapes of Wrath." Steinbeck's story is about families that are forever changed by the Depression-era events in the Dust Bowl of mid-America, where these huge dust storms were wiping out the lifetime work of many farmers. In one scene, an Oklahoma farm family has gathered in front of their house to watch the approach of this massive dust storm. The working men in the family are looking toward the horizon, no doubt wondering what this storm is going to do to their world. The children are hanging onto their parents' knees - their eyes are on the horizon, too. But not the women. The women are watching only their men's faces. What they need to know is there.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Woman Watching Their Men."
That scene is a revealing picture of where a wife's sense of security and well-being is supposed to lie - it's in the man she married. In fact, our word for today from the Word of God in Proverbs 14:26 describes the home of a real man this way - "He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge." A secure fortress - that's the kind of environment a man should provide for his wife and for his children.
God seems to have designed the home in such a way that the man is the thermostat - his marriage and his home reflect whatever climate he sets. That climate could be peaceful or stressful, affectionate or cold, communicating or disconnected. He could be setting a climate that is kind or harsh, selfish or unselfish, positive or negative. The woman seems to be the thermometer of the family, reflecting the temperature set by her man. And I guess you might say that the children are the seismograph who register every disturbance.
When Eve ate the forbidden fruit, it was Adam God came looking for - because it was the man God held accountable for the condition of that first family. When Sarah laughed at God's promise of a son in her old age, it was Abraham God confronted about unbelief. The buck stops with the man.
In our wedding ceremony, I asked God to help me be for my wife "the harbor for which the heart of woman truly longs." I haven't always been that harbor, but it's what God expects me to be -- what she needs me to be -- and what I'm trying to be more and more.
But it's hard for a woman to feel secure in her husband's love when he doesn't take time to listen to her heart -- when he continually criticizes her -- when he seldom praises her -- when he speaks harshly in anger -- when his eyes are wandering -- when he doesn't seem to value what she does. A man has incredible power to build a woman up or to tear her down.
And she has every right to expect what God expects - that the man will be the spiritual leader in his home; leading them to pray, to consult God's Word, to make godly choices.
A man may be scanning the horizon, weighing what he needs to do. But if you're married, your wife is looking at you to decide whether she's safe or not. You're her horizon. Don't let her down.