The Faith of a Wife: The Three-Fold Example of Sarah

One of the great Biblical examples of faith is Abraham. Much has been written and spoken about him, and rightly so. Much less has been said of another striking example of faith, the faith of his wife Sarah. Her life of faith was different, and in some ways much harder, than that of her husband. She demonstrated a three-fold faith that is an example for every wife, and for every believer, male or female.

First, Sarah had faith in God’s direction & provision. Hebrews 11:8 says Abraham set out “not knowing where he was going.” Certainly, that took faith on Abraham’s part, but put yourself in Sarah’s sandals. At least Abraham had some type of vision or message from God, but all Sarah had was her new husband telling her, “God told me to go.” “Where, my husband?” “I don’t know.” “How long will we be gone?” “I don’t know.” “How will we eat and stay alive? Will there be any other people there? Will there be any civilization or laws? Will I ever see my home or family again? Will we lose everything we have or be enslaved or worse?” “I don’t know. God just told me to go.”

Remember, this was before national governments, wikipedia, savings accounts, or any type of long-distance communication. Setting out from your own village literally meant “not knowing where he was going,” with no guarantee at all of what it would be like. Imagine that, and realize the faith Sarah had to have in God. None of us will ever be called to that kind of faith. Even the missionary called to a far off land will know quite a bit about what lies ahead: the people, the geography, the government, his mission board and support team, how he will travel, how he can get out if there is danger. Sarah knew absolutely nothing: she needed massive faith in God’s direction & provision.

But, Sarah also had to have faith in her husband’s ability. Let’s get real, Sarah: Did your husband really hear from God? Maybe it was his midlife crisis instead, or over zealous optimism, or misdirected desires. If you’re a wife, it can be a scary thing to put your faith in your husband. And what’s scarier is that God has a track record of sometimes leading people through rough seas— the same chapter in Hebrews that lists Abraham & Sarah’s faith also lists people of faith in chains & torture & death.

I don’t think it’s easy for any wife to have faith in her husband, especially when the direction that he is pointing in doesn’t seem to square with where she thinks God would lead. But what is the alternative, when you look from God’s perspective? A godly college student named Ruth was absolutely convinced that God had called her to be a missionary, but her boyfriend didn’t feel that call. How was she to know at the time that her lanky young Billy Graham would one day become the greatest evangelist of the century with her love and support? She had to take it on faith. Another young college student named Noel was engaged to a pre-med major, when he suddenly told her that he wanted to go to seminary instead. Would she search for a more stable, more secure husband, or would she choose to follow & support John Piper so that one day his ministry would put his theological writings in the hands of millions of believers?

Of course, not every case of a woman having faith in her husband has such a happy ending. Sarah’s life wasn’t all roses, either. Abraham stumbled badly at times, even putting Sarah’s life in danger by his foolish decisions. Even the best of husbands is a flawed & sinning human, and the worst of husbands can be much worse. That’s why Sarah, and every other wife, must have faith in God’s sovereignty. This is the hardest kind of faith to have: to believe that God still has a purpose and will still work for His glory and her good in a flawed, even deeply flawed, mate & marriage.

If you are a wife, why not commit to Sarah’s three-fold faith: to have faith in God’s direction & provision through your husband, to have faith in your husband’s ability, and have faith in God’s sovereignty even in your husband’s weakness, failures, & sin. If you say that you can’t see how you can have that kind of faith with your husband, well, that’s why it’s called faith. You believe it not because of who your husband is, but because of who you know God to be.

If you’re not a wife, you can still look to Sarah’s example of trusting God. Every husband is tempted like Adam to complain to God about “the woman who You gave to be with me.” (Genesis 3:12) Don’t complain— trust God for your mate. Everyone can also apply this faith principle to their friends & church— just because they’re not perfect doesn’t mean you can’t have faith in them & in God working through them. No matter who you are or what people are in your life, God challenges you to live this three-fold life of faith today.

3 comments to The Faith of a Wife: The Three-Fold Example of Sarah

  • John – I just happened on your blog. What a great post (even though I’m a guy). It just spoke to me because I just heard a message today which involved Sarah, but it was more about Sarah’s failings at living up to these examples which you name. Like when she didn’t trust God’s provision and gave Hagar to Abraham. So Sarah is a good example for wives and provides examples for what can result when a wife does not live up these virtues!
    I’ll be back to read some more of your writing. God bless and happy blogging!

  • John I learned these truths late in my marriage before my husband died. Now I counsel many young women. They get so tired of the same phrase: God called you first to honor and respect your husband…love him after you have totally honored and respected him (even if he is humanly mistaken). Now, as a widow I walk with this same truth to honor those in authority over me in work and ministry.

    Recently some women working with me had an attitude toward an overseer who was humanly making a mistake. I warned the women of Godly attitudes that were critical for us. They ignored me and ultimately they got bitter and eventually they were fired and they are suffering from extreme financial problems. I prayed in my home, but I didn’t place my mouth on the authority over me. He’s doing well and learned from all of the painful experiences. He and I have a strong trust relationship that God is using amazingly.

    You said: Everyone can also apply this faith principle to their friends & church— just because they’re not perfect doesn’t mean you can’t have faith in them & in God working through them. No matter who you are or what people are in your life, God challenges you to live this three-fold life of faith today.

    I deal with this by looking to human issues of God’s greatest in the Bible. Also I have lived long enough to know God will move a preacher or anyone in authority that is not pleasing to Him. If I release them to God and pray lining up with the Bible He will remove anyone He knows needs to go….anyone!!!

    TRust Him and honor the one in the position of authority: He is always just, true and on time.

  • Robyn

    Good thoughts. However, this can be a dangerous path to preach when a woman is told to respect and honor a man who is leading her to do something that is obviously non-biblical. Abraham gave his wife to pharoah. As in gave her to have sex with someone who was not her husband. She should have submitted to that and sinned? If my husband wants to watch me have sex with another man, I should do it out of respect and honor for my husband? NO WAY. If my husband beats me and my children, I should submit to that out of respect and honor for him? NEVER. My committment to God comes before my committment to my husband. Always.

    And that is why, when I counsel young women, I tell them: be very, very careful who you marry.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>