What I overheard was loud and clear: his wife’s health challenges were irritating to him.
Not much can knock the wind out of me, but hearing this did. It touched both my greatest insecurity and the greatest burden on my heart. After a comment like that, I would have expected something profound to follow. There was nothing. The elephant in the room was that sickness is an affliction you have to live with or get through – not a calling you live out.
This is the message we send to the world about adversity: If you have any kind of challenge that makes you different, your existence automatically becomes a burden to those in your life.
It’s this mentality that has led to a divorce rate of 75% for couples dealing with chronic illness. It’s breeding a “give up when it gets hard” culture where people won’t even consider touching something that doesn’t fit into their box of “normal” or “easy”, especially when it comes to marriage.
Not only is marriage a ministry in itself to your spouse and your family, it is an opportunity to be a ministry to the world. Unless you are living out that calling with someone who is 100% committed to whatever that looks like in context of the unique circumstances, you cannot be more effective in God’s kingdom collectively as you would be separately.
Maybe we, as single and married Christ-followers, should start leading by a radical example – seeking out and living alongside a partner who faces adversity while exuding a peace only given by Christ and a prayer that God would use it for His glory. Maybe we should demonstrate what it means to love lavishly those who God chose to walk this life with us, because we are secure in the truth that only when we are weak are we then strong. In this, we can better show what it looks like to delight in hardship and difficulty for Christ, which illuminates the darkness.
To my single “special” friends – don’t waste your time on someone who’s not up for the challenge; who cannot recognize the joy of living out the Gospel with you and sharing in Christ’s strength made perfect through WEAKNESS.