With his left hand, Steve smoked a cigarette. His right hand had been stabbed through — one of seven fresh knife wounds. A fellow homeless man had attacked him that morning.
Rachel dialed 911 and held the phone up to his ear.
After the call, Steve sat down and took a drink from a cup of water. Blood dripped from his nose and turned the water pink.
The ambulance arrived and Rachel prayed with Steve before the paramedics took him to the hospital.
At some point in the chaos of the morning, Rachel realized: most pastor’s wives aren’t doing this right now.
When Rachel and I got married we stood together at the alter. She looked me in the eyes and said her vows. She wasn’t messing around. I remember thinking in the moment, Wow, she really means this.
She knew what I wanted to do with my life. I had been called to the poor, to broken neighborhoods and smelly drunks.
When we kissed, and a hoot and holler came from a homeless man sitting in the pews, her special day wasn’t ruined, it was elevated.
What does it look like for a marriage to be on mission?
Does it mean that a husband gets to decide how to follow Jesus and his wife just has to follow along?
Does it mean that a husband becomes a pastor, and his wife sings in the praise band and leads bible studies at the church?
Those are fine things for a wife to do, for sure.
But does the calling go deeper than that?
Maybe a marriage on mission has less to do with being in love with each other and more to do with being in agreement with Jesus, together.
It’s miraculous that mine and Rachel’s marriage works.
And I mean that.
Because, even though we love each other a great deal, I’ve put her through a lot.
We’ve lived in the ghetto for most of our marriage. There have been times when demented old men follow her on her way home. Drunken homeless guys sometimes knock on our door at ungodly hours.
If Rachel and I didn’t agree about Jesus being in charge of our lives, none of our life together would make sense. We’d just be two hippy dippy white people drinking pour over coffee and reading Dwell magazine.
But instead, God did something in each of our hearts and brought us together under the lordship of Jesus.
It’s a miracle.
A week after the stabbing, Steve and his stabber reconciled and Rachel invited them over for tacos.
What’s the matter with her?
Rachel loves me. A lot.
But that’s not her problem.
Her problem is that she loves Jesus even more.
And she’s so stubborn about it.