Caught in a thunderstorm, exposed to the weather elements. Living in a hot and humid land, where it is difficult for plants and animals, let alone people, to grow and thrive. Does either setting sound like a pleasant place to live? Not at all! However, in the book of Proverbs, we read that those types of places are indeed the more pleasant, the more preferred, the better place to be than with a nagging, contentious, or quarrelsome wife. Wow. (But don’t stop reading, there is hope!)
Proverbs 21:19 states, “It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and vexing woman.” The desert land is known to be a barren area, one where living conditions are hostile. It is one where people have struggled to live throughout the ages of history because of its harshness. To be contentious means “to cause or likely to cause an argument or disagreement, exhibiting a wearisome tendency to argue.” It means when someone says one thing, we say the opposite. It means we argue for the sake of arguing, it is our tendency. And as the definition suggests, it is wearisome, both for us and for those with whom we are interacting. To be a vexing woman means to “make someone feel annoyed, frustrated, or worried, especially with trivial matters.” How easy it is to get into an argument over trivial matters, things that in the long run just don’t matter all that much! The desert: a hot, harsh, barren land is considered a better place to dwell than with this kind of woman!?
We also read in Proverbs 21:9 and 25:24, “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” One who lives on a corner of the roof would be exposed to the weather elements, in what would be an uncomfortable, even dangerous place. This is considered the better option? This makes me take a second look at the times I have been quarrelsome, or when I want to be quarrelsome!
What does this mean for us, practically? That we can never express a disagreement, a concern, an opposing opinion? No, but as women who love and trust the Lord, let’s make it our prayer to live what we believe; to live as those who are trusting in His love and care for us. This is more about our heart than our words; more about our attitudes than our actions. By His Spirit within us and His grace poured upon us, we can pause before we react. In that pause, we can pray and ask the Lord to give us the words to say and the ability to trust the outcome to Him. He doesn’t need our fighting, angry, or argumentative words to bring about His purpose in our lives! In that pause, we can also ask Him for His perspective: is this a trivial matter, is it worth arguing over?
As we trust in the Lord’s love and care for us, we will experience His peace. When we have this peace, we can then exhibit peace instead of contentiousness. Instead of being vexing, we become delightful to those around us. Instead of being quarrelsome, we become agreeable, forgiving, and friendly.
These sound like characteristics that would bless our families (as opposed to those characteristics that a desert or roof top is considered to be better than!), because these sound like characteristics of the Lord Himself! We don’t need to use words or arguments to be in control, because He is. We don’t need to fight for our way, because His way is better. We can remember that we have been invited to pour our hearts out to Him. We don’t need to major on minor, trivial things, because He sees everything in our lives, because He loves us that much. We can be women who trust Him with our very lives, including our interactions with others and even the outcomes.
“Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8
With love in Christ,
(on behalf of the Women’s Ministry)