20: Get Out of the Way

20: Get Out of the Way

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Wives

Get Out of the Way

By Johnna Stein

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

~Matthew 6:6

After four years of marriage, my husband and I became Christians the very same weekend. I assumed that meant we would follow the same smooth path of loving the Lord and growing in our faith together at a steady pace. We got off to a great start when Frank suggested we join a newly formed couples group in our church. It was a wonderful experience as we began reading the Bible together and learning how to raise our two young kids in the faith.

However, after a few years and an overseas move, it seemed that I was reading my Bible, doing devotions and exploring my faith more than my husband. We still attended a couples group that we both enjoyed, but I felt like I was somehow getting too far ahead of my husband. So I told him and began “helping” him in his faith journey. I shared with him how he could best choose a devotional book, and pray more and better. I did all I could to move him along. When attending women’s conferences, I made sure I picked up a special book or devotion that was just perfect for him. I was full of helpful hints. For example, whenever he read the newspaper, I would jest, “Might want to read some Good News to go along with that bad news!”

But no matter how I approached the situation, nothing seemed to motivate him. All my ideas backfired. Finally, I confided in an older, wiser woman in our church, and she recommended I pray for him. Not do anything else. Just pray. What a concept! It was harder than it seemed. Although I know prayer is one of the most important aspects of a believer’s life, it didn’t feel like I was taking action. Perhaps that’s what God had in mind — that I would stop acting and get out of the way.

At first, I saw no immediate results. It was hard to resist the temptation to express my view of my husband’s spiritual life. Sometimes I failed and just had to say something, and I always regretted it. I knew I needed to pray and get out of the way. So I finally did.

Shortly thereafter, my husband was asked to be on the church vestry. This seemed to be the catalyst that drove him to regularly read his Bible and prepare well for those sometimes challenging vestry meetings. The positive trend continued as we taught two courses together for adults and teens. He dug deeper into the Word, and his faith deepened.

My husband found his way, just not my way. His style is different; his rhythm is different; his growth is different. I tend to grow in my faith in measured steps, while Frank grows in leaps and bounds. He caught up to me in no time! And sometimes he rolls right past me. All I needed to do was get out of the way and pray!

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