21 Thursday May 2015
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10-11
I’ve been reading through 1 Peter again, but this time more through the eyes of Peter. Precious Peter.
The man who was given three chances to pray along with Jesus on the night He was betrayed, instead fell asleep and three times fell into temptation.
He had looked into Jesus’ eyes and said he would be the lone faithful holdout among everyone else on earth…and then denied Him the very next day.
He had gone so far as to tell Jesus would rather die with Him than deny Him…then denied Him with an oath.
He had impulsively cut an ear off one of the high priest’s servants when they came to arrest Jesus, and then fell so fast and so hard that that very day he called down curses and emphatically swore on oath that he…did…not…know…the…Man.
And then a rooster crowed, and Jesus stopped everything and looked into his eyes.
Peter fled, found a solitary place and wept bitterly.
It must have seemed like an eternity from that moment until the moment after Jesus had risen from the dead and met them on the beach with fish frying over a fire and Jesus once again looked him in the eye, asking him not once, but three times, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?” John 21:15-17
And three times Peter answered yes.
And in that moment Jesus restored him with his new assignment, saying “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17) And then the command “Follow Me.” (John 21:19)
And Peter became a fisher of men.
The man who had been so filled with pride before became the man who wrote “be self-controlled.” (1 Peter 1:13)
The man who had let fear rule in his heart is the same man who would later write “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 13:14-17)
Peter knew true suffering. Those days he spent with guilt and shame, far from his friend, far from God, far from forgiveness, were agonizing. He probably spent much of those days with his head hanging down looking at the ground, or into the sea, as he resigned himself to his old life of fishing for fish. Jesus was gone; his life with Him was over. Simon Peter discovered there is no greater suffering than to be separated from God.
Maybe circumstances in your life have changed and you’re feeling like a failure. Maybe they’ve left you on the sidelines. Maybe you think God’s done with you.
Let me tell you something: He isn’t. He wasn’t done with Peter and He’s not done with you.
He’s using circumstances to mature you, to perfect you, to make you wholly dependent on Him. And when the time is right, with His resurrection power, He will restore you.
You are His domain, His glory. He started the work and He will complete it. Hold onto to the hope that Peter discovered was not a vain hope.
Be careful not to fill that heartache with something less than God’s perfect will, something of this earth. Don’t go back to fishing. Keep waiting and filling your heart with truth, hope and His promises.
Ultimate restoration will come for all of us who trust in Him when we see our Savior face to face. As long as we’re on this side of heaven and away from the Lord we will feel a longing to be with Him, to be restored body and soul. In the meantime, keep following Christ on the narrow road.
He’s coming back soon!