1 Peter 3:1-7
Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word…
A high-born, cultured lady was converted during one of the London missions, and it was a genuine conversion. Immediately she separated herself from the world, revolutionised her household, altered her gay attire; and instead of the theatre or concert or ballroom night after night she was found at the mission service, the prayer meeting, or Bible reading. At first it embittered and angered her worldly husband, but eventually he yielded to what he termed "a new caprice." When he found out that his beautiful wife was really in earnest, he persecuted her, and stung her with bitter reproaches, which, unfortunately, too frequently aroused her passionate temper, or occasioned an angry retort. One day God used her husband's bitter words to teach her a great lesson. "When your Christ can do something more for you, Isabel," he said, "I may let Him try to do something for me — not before." "Wherein do I fail most?" she asked. "In your temper and tongue, which are sourer than when I first knew you." "Is this really so?" she asked herself when alone. "If so, O God, forgive me" was the sob which burst from her lips. "What! is it possible that my hastiness may perhaps be keeping my husband from God? Away with it, Lord I Give me, I pray Thee, victory over all sin." God answered her prayer, but the testing time had yet to come. When her husband found persecution no longer irritated her, he let jealousy get the better of him — jealousy of the little delicate lad, their only child, who monopolised so much of his mother's time, and filled a large place in her loving heart, One evening when Mr. N — returned home irritable and morose — perhaps the worse for wine — she was singing softly, "There's a beautiful land on high," and the patient little sufferer had just said, "I'd like to be there, mother, if I could take you with me," when Mr. N — entered the nursery, and said, irritably, "Put that child down, Isabel; Norton has come home with me to dine." "Our little laddie is worse, Edgar," she said. "May I not stay with him?" "No," and taking him roughly from her knee he handed the child to the nurse. "All nonsense about his being worse." But, as he spoke, a loud moan escaped the little lad's lips. His father had caught his head accidentally' against the corner of the table, and he cried out to go back to his mother again, "The child is not hurt much, Isabel; leave him at once, and come and attend to my guest." With an aching heart, Mrs. N — obeyed, trembling lest the blow might prove serious. Before dinner, however, was over, she was summoned to the nursery. The child was worse. Both the doctor and physician had been sent for, and they shook their heads at his condition. In the midst of the confusion and excitement, Mr. N — went out with his friend, heedless of the message which had been sent to him from the nursery, lie did not return until long after midnight. But about midnight his little child died. Isabel N — was childless. There she knelt alone by the bedside of her little darling's lifeless form. Would it be possible to describe her feelings or to understand the conflict through which she was passing? The Refiner was looking on — watching intently to see the effect of the fire through which He was causing His child to pass. Would it burn up the dross? Would it subdue the will? A few minutes later her husband's step was heard in the hall, and Mrs. N — knew the butler would tell his master all that had happened. The grief-stricken woman listened for him to come to her at once, but she heard him enter the library and shut the door; and, in the stillness which followed, she cried unto the Lord for guidance and strength. Pride said, "Let him come to you — he has wronged both you and the child"; but love said, "Go to him — be the first to forgive." Love conquered, thanks be to God. Mr. N — was sitting by the table, his head buried in his hands, when he heard the library door open, and in another moment felt his wife's soft warm arms encircling his neck, and her lips pressed to his heated brow, while a voice of gentle sweetness said, "Jesus has taken our darling to be with Him, Edgar; but I will love you more, dear." No stinging reproaches — no hard hasty words — not even a tender rebuke. The man could hardly believe he heard aright. What a miracle! What wonderful love! Yes, and the love broke his heart. "Come upstairs and see our boy, Edgar." Without speaking he followed her; and while the two knelt alone in that still room and her tremulous voice pleaded that the sorrow might be sanctified, and that one day they too might join their little one in the Better Land, the proud, stubborn man yielded his heart to his God. When he arose he said, calmly, "Isabel, Christ has done so much for you, dear, that I mean to ask Him to do as much for me. There is something in Christianity after all."
(Mrs. Walter Searle.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;