My wife, Miranda Perez-LePort

In the Book of Judges we are introduced to a strong woman who is one of the judges over the tribes of Israel. Deborah was her name and she was a prophetess. The nation was being oppressed by the Canaanites so Deborah summoned a man named Barak to fight for their liberation. Barak showed her the utmost honor in his response, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go (Judges 4.8).”

Some people belittle Barak for not being “man enough,” but I think Barak was wise. We hear a lot of talk in Christian circles about manliness and so-called “biblical manhood.” Many churches function as if the women are barely present. When these people approach this text they find Barak to be a wimp. I think they are in error.

What I have learned from Barak is simple: when you know a woman worthy of honor who makes the world around her better the right thing to do is to respect her strength. Barak knew Deborah had proven herself as a woman worthy of respect and even submission. Deborah deserved to be understood this way.

When my wife gave me my ring on our wedding day it had an inscription in Hebrew from the Book of Ruth 1.16 which translates as, “Where you will go, I will go.” She did this very thing when the day after our honeymoon we packed our combined belongings, left California, and moved to Oregon so I could do the Th.M. program at Western Seminary. Today I am graduating.

Over the next several months we will be planning our transition. There are several options and many things to consider. One thing I know though is that I could not have done what I have done these last few years without my amazing, Deborah-like wife and like Barak I know it is wise to say, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you do not go with me, I will not go.” I am not saying this simply because we are married and we need to stay together. That is obvious. Rather, I am presenting this attitude back to the woman who told me, “Where you will go I will go.”

Over the last few years I have learned so much from my wife. She has given me insight into subjects related to family studies, ethnic studies, gender studies, human sexuality, and so many other areas that need to be understood as we proclaim the Gospel in an ever changing society. She has challenged me when I was ignorant (or even belligerent) making me a better thinker and more importantly a better person. When we moved to Oregon I didn’t consult her as I should have. I had never been a husband, but now that I have been one for almost three years I realize that to ignore her would be to ignore my most valuable resource.

Miranda is my best friend. I know she has my best interest in mind. I love her so very much. I hope to show wisdom and growth at this stage in our lives by echoing the words of Barak by saying, “If you will go with me, then I will go.” As long as I have her support I know I have what I need. I am thankful for a wife who makes me a better person, who strengthens me, and whose beauty and love are unsurpassed. Truly, I am blessed.