This article was first published September 17, 2013 and has been updated.
Friends, this is the first installment of a new feature we will be offering: Ask a Pioneer.
You can submit questions to us, and we will ask a pioneer to write up an answer for you. The answers will be based on their years of experience and those special tips they learned at Pioneer School. Today we introduce you to Sister Snow. She has pioneered for thirty-five years, and Friends, she has seen it all!
I am so pleased to have been invited here to encourage my brothers and sisters.
A question I often get from sisters is how to show true submission when circumstances seem to make that impossible. To answer this, I’d like to share a personal story.
Some years ago, I was out in service with a sister whose eight-year-old nephew was visiting and working with us in the car group. I had a door stop study scheduled and decided to take the boy along. As we walked toward the house, he started telling me about his baptism the month before. This gave me pause because I had not packed a proper head covering.
Since the study was scheduled and I didn’t want to be late, I had to get creative. Jehovah is the great time keeper. I rifled through my book bag, but the only thing I had was a peanut butter sandwich sealed in a plastic container. I thought about draping some literature on my head, but that seemed to be an inappropriate use of our spiritual food. I tried to prop the plastic container on my head, but it was a windy day, and it kept blowing off. Knowing it was completely unacceptable to allow my naked head to be exposed when I was in the presence of a baptized brother, I began to pray. Jehovah provided the answer. I opened my sandwich and stuck it to my head. The peanut butter worked beautifully!
It might have looked a little silly, but I knew that the householder would see my resolve to show my submission, and this would be a good witness. We greeted the woman at the door and I asked the young brother to offer a prayer, again displaying godly submission. Things quickly grew uncomfortable when he said, “No, I don’t want to!” Oh dear. I answered him mildly, “Brother, I know you’re tired and hungry, but can you do this for Jehovah?”
The householder seemed confused by this exchange. She suggested that if the boy was tired and hungry, perhaps I could come back at another time. She had children herself, and said she often had to cut plans short for their needs. But I explained to her that Jehovah’s Witness children are raised to accept responsibility and to work past discomforts such as these. The little brother rolled his eyes and offered the prayer.
We had read one paragraph together when the boy started kicking the porch railing. The banging was so loud that I had to raise my voice to be heard. I wanted to admonish him, but I also understood I was in submission to him and that would be usurping Jehovah’s arrangement. So I just endured and continued the study. The woman said, “Honey, could you please stop kicking my railing?” Of course, she didn’t understand. I took the opportunity to teach her. “I understand the noise is bothersome, but this brother has the responsibility to take the spiritual lead, and we as women have the responsibility to follow it. It is all part of Jehovah’s arrangement which is there for our benefit.”
Sadly, that woman didn’t have the right heart condition, but I comfort myself by knowing that I had offered her a wonderful witness.
So sisters, godly submission is not always easy. It doesn’t always look attractive, but we need to be ready to obey even when it doesn’t seem reasonable. This is Jehovah’s arrangement, passed on to us by the Faithful and Discreet Slave. Even if we don’t see the wisdom in the arrangement, we know Jehovah would never ask us to do anything hurtful to ourselves.