Mark 1:29-31 (New American Standard Bible)
And immediately after they came out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they spoke to Jesus about her. And he came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them.
Compared with some of Jesus’ dramatic encounters we’ve looked at over the past few days, this episode might seem pretty tame. Healing lepers, casting out demons, calming a storm — how can this match up? This woman wasn’t dying or dead. She isn’t a societal outcast. She’s not abandoned or destitute or possessed. She’s just not feeling well.
But I love this simple story, because it is one of the few times we see into the private life of one of Jesus’ disciples. The sick woman is called Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, so we know that Peter was married. And although he and his brother Andrew had left their former lives behind to follow Jesus, they still remained connected with their family. They stop by the house to rest and find the matriarch of the family sick in bed.
As modern readers, we may read this story and be tempted to think, “Poor woman! Feeling terrible all day, and then, as soon as she is feeling better, forced to jump out of bed and wait on her son-in-law and his friends.” But it appears that she had a permanent home with Peter and Andrew. In that society it would have felt shameful to her to be down for the count when her family was in need of her hospitality. She is grateful for Jesus’ healing touch, and she immediately springs into action.
Jesus gives her exactly the kind of grace that she needs at that moment in her life. Sometimes we look at our life and think, “Oh, it’s not so bad. There are a lot of people worse off than me.” And that is certainly true. But also remember that God wants to meet you exactly where you are, and to help you get to an even healthier place.
Into what new area of your life could you invite God today?