Once there was a man whose marriage was on the rocks. It had been on the rocks for some years, but he had just found out about it. This was quite a shock to his system, because for some time he had used bluster, bravado, and bullying to keep anyone from saying anything that might indicate that something was wrong.
He had been a faithful church-goer, and he hated every form of theological compromise. Wherever his family had lived, he always sought out a good “Bible-believing, traditional values” church. No evangelical feminism for him, or his household. No girly-man theology for him.
His wife had gone with the kids to visit her mother for a week, and so the email from her saying that she had no plans to return anytime soon left him thunderstruck. He could not really turn to the church he was a member of, because, although they talked a good line, they never really disciplined anyone for anything. On a subconscious level, that is why he had picked it. But churches that won’t discipline abusive husbands will not discipline deserting wives either. He had nowhere to turn, and all of a sudden the empty, cavernous house seemed full of mirrors.
But this man had a neighbor who attended another church, and his marriage was obviously full of contentment. Before this time, that had been a reason to despise him, but the deserted husband was now open in ways he had never been before. He approached his neighbor, honestly told him what had happened, and asked if he had any counsel or advice.
“Well, yes, I do,” the man said. “but I have no desire to give offense. May I have your permission to speak freely?”
In reply, the humbled husband nodded.
“This may seem like I am speaking in riddles at first. But I would like to ask you to think and pray about it, and then we can talk again tomorrow.”
“You serve and worship a god who commands. You worship Allah, whatever else you may call him. I am a Trinitarian. That means that I worship and serve a God who obeys. One step out, this means you imitate a god who commands. And by God’s grace, I imitate a God who obeys.”
“But doesn’t the God of the Bible also command?”
“Yes—mystery for your meditation.”