During a sickness, illness or compromising health, who prays to God saying, “Keep it coming Lord!” I think your primary doctor would quickly increase your drug dosage.
Yet, St. Paul, subjected to numerous afflictions - all done by him on behalf of his commitment to Christ - says precisely the same thing…”Keep it coming, Lord.” That’s Paul’s message to us today. It’s not the cancer or an ingrown toenail, it’s our commitment to the hope filled message of uniting our lives to both the sufferings and the successes of Jesus Christ.
It’s a biblical package deal. You cannot have one without the other. It’s not a Sunday buffet at your favorite restaurant. “I’d like a heap of successes and a dappling of suffering, please.”
Christ not only taught about life’s package that but showed it through his life. The blueprint of living our lives in both its sufferings and successes is living, truly living, the person of Jesus, the one who last name is not Christ but who now becomes a glorious witness and testament to his life and now commissioned as the Christ for our lives.
We misunderstand the Mary/Martha conflict. Jesus declares that Mary found the better half because she needed it at that time in her life. Without Martha cooking away there’d be no supper for the three of them. Martha’s complaining is purely us when we feel unappreciated because important work, like cooking, centers our attention.
You may not know this but I bet everything that when the dishes are clean and put away, Jesus calls Martha to sit a bit beside him and proceeds to tell her a story that fits her situation. Martha would absorb each word knowing that those words are meant for her and then enjoy a restful sleep waking to the alarm clock and prepare yet another breakfast.
“In sickness and in health” are never words reserved only for marriage. They are the ups and downs words of our lives. And, all of those downs and ups are worthily and humbly lived through, with, and in … and because of the person Jesus Christ.