Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sometimes, It's Hard...To Be...A Woman

Did anyone hear the song in their head. No? Anyway...

Consequences, consequences. Usually when we use the word consequences…it’s not good. We’ve seen the consequences for the serpent and that mostly worked out good for us, but today we’ll look at what God said to Eve…the consequences for her…and therefore all women. Read what God said to Eve in Genesis 3:16.

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

As the mother of two, I wonder what in the world childbirth would have been like if not painful. Like the serpent who would now “crawl on [his] belly and eat dust for all the days of [his] life,” there is a physical consequence for the woman. In God’s mercy, she will still give birth, but again, there is a cost. It will be painful. Now let me tell you, I thanked God the entire time I was in the hospital for epidurals. Seriously. But still I did not escape the pain that comes with childbearing. I have a strong suspicion this is a larger reference. Let me explain…

My younger sister was the first to get pregnant in our family. We couldn’t have been happier. At 17 weeks, it was discovered her baby had severe birth defects, including his heart, caused by a chromosome disorder. Her baby died a couple of weeks later and it was one of our darkest moments. Pain in childbearing.

Before I was pregnant with my first daughter, I had a miscarriage. I was devastated. I hadn’t told my friends and family that I was pregnant so what would I say? I even felt guilty for being so sad because I didn’t feel it compared to the pain my sister had been through. Pain in childbearing.

A son is devastated at not making the basketball team…
A teenage daughter struggles with her lack of popularity…
A child screams, “I hate you!” when you have to discipline them…
Pain in childbearing.

As my children grow, I know that there will be pain. I know there will be times my heart will be broken either for them or by them. I know there were times I brought my own parents pain. It’s not just the act of giving birth that is painful but all of mothering children has become more painful as a result of sin. In God’s mercy, it has AMAZING moments and aspects…but as a result of sin, there is also now pain.

The second consequence is very important to understand as well. And it might explain a lot to you. I know it was an “Aha!” moment for me. It’s a little confusing at first but when we break down the language, I hope it will make a little more sense to you. Reread Genesis 3:16.

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.

Sounds a little confusing doesn’t it? But I think there is a little something lost in translation. I was listening to a series of sermons by Tommy Nelson of Denton Bible Church on women in the Bible. Naturally, the first woman in the series was the first woman, Eve. While listening to his sermon, I learned that a more literal meaning might be, “Your desire will be [to rule over] your husband, and he will rule over you.” Now that’s a little different isn’t it? The word translated “desire” comes from the Hebrew word Teshuwqah(#8669). This word can refer to sexual desire, but it has another meaning as well. Look at Genesis 4:7 where the same Hebrew word is used.

“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
Clearly this is a different kind of desire isn’t it? The word used in Genesis 3:16 can mean sexual desire, but when it comes to your husband, that would be a blessing, not a curse. It is also used in terms of overcoming, “like a crouching animal ready to pounce.”

It still may not make sense to you so let me put it to you this way. Who wears the pants in your family? Who is the spiritual leader in your home, the one involved in Bible study, the one who makes sure everyone gets to church? Who makes the final call when there is a decision to be made? If you are blessed to be in a home where your husband is the spiritual leader, do you ever struggle with submitting to his authority? Have you ever wondered why it’s so difficult at times? IT’S PART OF THE CONSEQUENCES! Our sin nature wants the authority but God ordered things so that the husband is the one charged with that responsibility.

I’m not saying it’s easy friends. For the women, I know for a fact that LOTS of you struggle with this. And men, it’s not easy for you either. If this whole submission thing is new to you and seems old fashioned or unfair, I get it. I’ve been there. Let me just say, it doesn’t mean what you think it means. If you have specific questions, drop me a note and I would love to talk about it some more. But for those of you who know the Biblical meaning of submission, maybe this helps explain why it’s so hard with your husband sometimes. Anyway, on that note, next time we’ll look at what God had to say to Adam…

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