A few nights ago during our home church meeting I apologized to Sarah because I’ve been leaving her alone.
Now, I’m around her for much of the day (excepting our work schedules), and whether it’s preparing a meal together and eating it, watching a first season episode of the television show 24 (we’re catching up), hanging with our daughters, or lazing about the house, we’re together a lot and we talk about a lot.
Yet it has lately become a rare moment when I ask or talk specifically with her about Jesus and His life with her; what He might be communicating, what He might want to do for her, what He might be asking of her, or how she is growing in believing and trusting in Him. You know – “What’s happening with God who loves and chose you?” I live with this terrific woman of whom the world is not worthy, who has been made into the righteous daughter of God, and I don’t talk with her about how she is and how she is doing?! How crazy is that?
And I’m sure there is little in her day other than me which accurately reflects back to her or honors who she is. And I don’t think there are many occasions in which someone says, “Wow! Here comes Sarah, holy daughter of God. Since Jesus lives in you, Sarah, what do you think about such and such? What is your opinion of this situation and what should we do?” Much of her day seems set up not to stimulate and draw her out, but to stifle and frustrate her.
So, I’m on course again to provoke my wife. I know that word provoke has a negative connotation to it, but I mean it in the best, most helpful sense. I want to help her to think about God and who He is and what He did already for her, and what He has made of her, and what He might be doing right now. That kind of stuff. I know it sometimes feels a bit like a needle, but we need to prick each other now and then to get rid of the puffy fluff-and-stuff which sometimes captures our attention and covers our hearts.
Here’s what I recommend: have a provoking weekend. Ask Jesus to fill you with the Spirit, and then call someone and provoke ‘em. “Hey, Will. What does God think of you right now?” “Julie, has God given you everything for nothing in Christ, or do you have to earn things?” “Cynthia, where is God right now and is He happy about that? Why?” “Greg, are God’s promises for you conditional, or are they already ‘Yes’ in Christ?”
Or simply hang out with people and ask the Spirit to share with you His thoughts and feelings about those around you. Listening and feeling for Him, you’ll be provoked and clued in. And you might have something to say as a result.
You’ll benefit those around you and find you’re better off than you think.