There are times when I read scripture that I am consistently blown away in how I see God doing something extraordinary for me. In that He is just not teaching me something from His Word, but He is purposefully and intentionally showing me something that I need for that season in my life. Right There! Right Then! In that moment the Creator of the Earth who spoke the universe and all humanity into existence, was clearly and openly speaking to me.
I love when He shows me correlations in scripture to my own life in the narrative of those pages. As in the history of the text He shows me something that seems as if the writer had knowledge of my position and situation. It almost appears in fact as if the writer knew my thoughts and feelings; and could intimately address all of them by telling me a testimony of his friend and how he had gone through the same thing. What an amazing, glorious, warming, caring, loving feeling that is. To have the Heavenly Father reach down through the Holy Spirit to touch your heart in a way that says…”I know, I’m Here.”
This happened to me a few weeks past and it was humbling, exhilarating and to be honest, exhausting all at the same time. It was one of those moments for me that I lose sleep over trying to figure out. And I pray that I have one tomorrow, and the next day, and the following day. Well actually I pray that I never quench that Voice!
So as quickly and simply as I can (which is always a challenge for me) here is what I discovered and to be honest I have not ever heard a sermon on it although I’m sure it has been covered.
Take a moment and go with me to the end of the Gospels where Jesus has been arrested and Peter is being challenged by the crowds that he is a follower of Christ. Look at Luke 22:60-62 below:
Luke 22:60-62 (ESV)
60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.
From this point we only see Peter again immediately after the resurrection. He and John go to the tomb to verify that in fact the Lord is gone. Once this occurs we do not see or hear from Peter again until Jesus engages the group of disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, In John 21 we see this:
4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!…”
Before we get any further let’s think about the time that has just passed and all of the emotions and turmoil that Peter must have gone through. We first read where he has just committed an awful act of denying the Lord just as the Lord told him that he would. He was left with the image of Christ staring at him with what I am sure is probably the most convicting look in history but yet also the most compassionate look all at the same time. And then I am sure that as he went away from the fire to as scripture describes “weep bitterly” he assumed that his ministry was over. He has just walked with the Lord for 3 years watching Christ heal and work many miracles. He was part of all of the things that Christ did and watched as the Old Testament Scriptures literally were fulfilled in front of him. Yet, when the chance came he buckled. I, as well as you I am sure know that feeling all to well. And if we are honest with ourselves there is nothing worse than the feeling that you are a failure to the most important people in your life.
So what kept me awake is how long did Peter feel like this? How long was this period that Peter went through where he had to have been depressed and deeply saddened by his failures? How long did Satan attack and remind Peter of his failures and how disappointed Christ must have been in him?
At this point I have not found any source or person that seems to know and to be honest I don’t think that the time that expired is the issue. However I do know that it was the exact amount of time that he needed. In this failure; as I am sure that Satan was constantly reminding him of how he had failed Christ and how he was now worthless; Christ was working and preparing Peter for the moment that He would call Peter to meet with Him again. When He would now take a man who was broken and truly ready for a ministry and charge him with being “the rock” and beginning a ministry that reached through time and history to this writer’s soul.
And to be honest I have written and re-written the end of this several times only to erase it because it doesn’t say what my heart wants to explode upon. So in an inelegant, ungrammatical sentence let me say it this way: you’re going to fail, sometimes in ways that you would never have imagined. But when you do let Christ work through it to prepare you for what He has next for you (cause He WILL call you to His Kingdom’s work again) He will do things in your heart that you could not ever of imagined and even open things and expose things that you never saw before. Because Christ works through the tainted, rusty, moldy, smelly vessels not the shiny, pretty, ones that have no room for Him. I implore you to just do what Peter did when Christ calls to you…
7 …When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.
It is this simple and impossible…you have to throw yourself into this and let Christ have Lordship. When you fail you will want to run and hide to avoid the guilt, shame, embarrassment, and struggle but if you will let Christ make that decision instead of your flesh, He will bless you in ways that can not be written in a blog. But in ways that will be written on the lives of the people around you and the people who Christ will bring to you to love and feed.