I did not set out to become a pastor’s wife. I really didn’t. As a matter of fact, being a pastor’s wife is something I actually kind of avoided. Then, bam! After years of marriage, I found out that my husband was indeed, a pastor. This kind of sucked because I really did not want to be a pastor’s wife.
Now I know what you are thinking. Snarky, pastor’s wives aren’t supposed to say “kind of sucked” and also, why on earth wouldn’t you want to be a pastor’s wife? Pastors have tons of time to devote to being a great husband, they never struggle financially, and everyone adores and respects the pastor’s wife.
Please pause with me while all the other pastors’ wives finish with the hysterical laughing.
The reason that I really didn’t want to be a pastor’s wife is that pastors are supposed to have the answers to all of life’s difficult questions. They are supposed to know exactly what to say and when to say it. Also, pastors are supposed to know how to keep their big mouths shut. Their wives are also supposed to have all the sensitive answers and know about the mouth shutting as well. I am neither the philosophical answer type nor the big mouth shutting type so I knew that if I were to be a pastor’s wife, it would be only a matter of time before I was exposed as having none of the answers and a big open mouth.
After years of being a pastor’s wife, I have learned two things. Things that might help you know some of the answers.
#1. Pastor’s don’t have all of the answers.
What?!? Yup. It’s true. There are some really great pastors out there. Some of them are really smart. Some of them are really sensitive. Some of them are deeply mystical. Here is one thing they all have in common. They are all regular human beings who don’t know everything and make mistakes. Like oodles of mistakes. For example, my pastor spent years not even knowing why I would have an aneurysm every time he tried to “help” with the laundry. Finally I explained to him that he was clearly the last living person on earth to not know that towels are folded into thirds and not halves.
He didn’t even know.
Can you imagine anyone even giving him a pastor card? They did. And they give those things to other people who don’t know everything too.
It’s totally true and I’m not even lying.
Every pastor you’ve ever met doesn’t know everything.
Now that I have totally flipped your world upside down, let’s move on to thing number two.
#2. I know why bad things happen to good people.
I do. I know exactly why.
It’s complicated and it takes a little understanding of physics and you’re really not going to like it, but I feel it’s at least my duty to put it out there. The reason that bad things happen to good people involves two parts.
The first is that when God created the universe, He constructed it with certain laws. There are lots and lots of laws, I will use a basic one like gravity. Gravity is a great law because not only does it keep our atmosphere securely on the planet so that we can do nice things like breathing, but it also keeps you securely on the planet instead of hurtling though outer space. Gravity is nice. It keeps us safe.
The second thing God did was to give us free will. He gave us the ability to make any choice we want. He also, and this is key, gave everyone else the ability to make any choice they want to.
This combination sometimes leads to bad things happening. Even to good people.
Let’s use our gravity example. If I jump as high as I can, gravity will pull me safely back to the ground. this is a good thing happening to a good person. However, if I make the choice to jump as high as I can off the top of a tall building, gravity still pulls me not so safely back to the ground. This is a bad thing happening to a stupid person. Finally, if someone else makes the choice to throw me off the top of a tall building, gravity is still going to pull me not so safely back to the ground. That is a bad thing happening to a good person.
So, when Rome started to deteriorate, all of the Romans were shouting “Why are bad things happening to good people?” All of the Christians were shouting “Haha! God is smiting thee for crucifying our savior!” When in reality, the problem was that the Romans simply didn’t understand the science of lead and why it shouldn’t be used to hold your drinking water.
The same is happening today. People are falling victims to horrible diseases. The victims are shouting “Why is this bad thing happening to me? I’m a good person!” The “Christians” are shouting “God is trying to teach you something! Is there any sin in your life or unforgiveness in your heart?” When in reality we are dumping so many plastics and chemicals into our air, land and water that it’s surprising any of us are still alive. It’s as if we are competing with one another to see who can destroy God’s creation the fastest, but we forget that we are part of that creation.
God is not giving you cancer, rape, or the death of your child to teach you something. These things are breaking His heart every bit as much as they break yours. He loves you, and like any really good, healthy parent, He only wants good things for you. We live on a planet that we have broken. We live among people that we have broken. This is the cause of all of the bad things.
And the miracles? Those don’t happen regularly. If you blink you might miss them, but they are simply God breaking His own rules. For you. Because he loves you that much.
So here I am, a reluctant pastor’s wife. I have a big open mouth and very few answers, but it’s okay. I am learning.