As I was sorting through my funk a couple weeks ago, one of the questions that I kept focusing on was “is it fair, or even possible, to pursue the calling that I believe God has on my life while my wife deals with her brokenness – and I deal with mine for that matter?” Questions like that one make the destination so much further away and unachievable. Like trying to navigate a boat in a dense fog. Which way do you go? There is light out there, but it is so hard to see.
With that rolling around in my head, the funk go more and more.
Then, during some time with God, this thought flashed through my head…where was Peter’s wife?
When you read the accounts of Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law, Peter’s wife is not mentioned at all. Does that seem curious to anyone else? There is no description of her worry for her mother’s fever, no asking Jesus to heal her, no expression of thankfulness after the healing, and even more – mother-in-law began to wait on Jesus – again no mention of Peter’s wife in all this.
Of course, there is probably some great reason for this, but maybe there is some back story here that we don’t know or expect because we sometimes take the skin and humanity off of our Bible characters. Maybe Peter’s wife resented Jesus. After all Peter just up and left his job one day to follow Jesus around the countryside. I’m sure food still needed to be put on the table and there were the proverbial bills to pay. Maybe she resented Peter for following Jesus. Now more household responsibility fell on her and she just couldn’t take being around when the two of them came over. But, it really seems to me a stretch to think she would not be home with a sick mom laying in the house. Or maybe she didn’t believe. Peter was being gullible. Other ‘messiahs’ had come and gone and left nothing but trouble. Maybe this miracle was for her so she’d believe that Jesus was different.
I wonder (of course assuming any of this has root in truth) how Peter would handle this situation. Was he frustrated with his wife’s lack of faith? Did he feel torn? Was he tempted to not follow? Can you imagine the tragedy that would be, not living out his calling from Christ? Yet, history tells us that Peter’s wife went to Rome to die with him. Apparently, Peter’s obedience in responding to Christ’s call got her to follow as well.
When confronted with such a situation, wouldn’t it be easier to try to wiggle out like Adam – “Hey God, everything here was cool until you sent the woman to get us into the pile of trouble.” Peter, or anyone else struggling with marriage difficulties, could cite a similar statement to justify disobedience.
Truth is, my wife and I are both broken followers of Christ. Aren’t we all? Somehow, at times, I get it into my head that she needs to achieve a certain measure of wholeness before it will be possible to pursue my call. Sometimes I wonder if God didn’t make a mistake, and ask is it even fair of me to follow Jesus around the countryside at all. For her, doesn’t that just make overcoming brokenness that much harder?
But God keeps beckoning. I have to follow his call, it’s who I am. The truth is that brokenness is not the problem. Not mine. Not my wife’s. God knew before calling us and continues to expect that we are broken. It’s part of the deal with being a human living in a fallen world. Being wounded is not the concern, God can and will use that. But are we actively living the the power of Christ to make steps toward overcoming the brokenness. That is trust and faithfulness. He’ll control the outcome, we control our next step.