My concept of the post I was going to write was different than what I will write today. My title for this post came to me last Friday. I started looking up scripture references on hope, but I wasn’t getting the clear picture.
It wasn’t until this morning when I had a Zoom call with Mindy Kiker and the ladies in the FlourishWriters Academy. Even then it wasn’t what we covered on the call, but it was Mindy’s closing that got me thinking.
She talked about what it must have been like for the apostles as their hopes and dreams came crashing down. To them, “Good Friday” was anything but good.
I want to take a look at the faith walk of Peter, the apostle. Why? Because he embodies the real-life struggle I go through. Probably, you do, too.
Let’s start at square one. After Jesus fills Peter’s boat with fish, Peter tells Jesus to leave him alone because he is not good enough.
When Simon Peter saw this astonishing miracle, he knelt at Jesus’ feet and begged him, “Go away from me, Master, for I am a sinful man!”Luke 5:8 (TPT)
Sometimes I don’t feel worthy of his love. I may even doubt if I have been or can be forgiven. I doubt that God would want me in the condition I am in. Wouldn’t it be better if he waited until I had it all together?
How did Jesus respond?
Jesus answered, “Do not yield to your fear, Simon Peter. From now on, you will catch men for salvation!”Luke 5:10b (TPT)
Jesus knows something about us that we haven’t got a clue about. We can’t imagine what he sees in us.
You remember the story where Peter walks on water.
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”Matthew 14:28-30 (ESV)
It’s easy to judge Peter. After all it was JESUS standing right there on the water in front of him. Yet, I can understand Peter’s doubt. Many times I thought I was doing what God had asked me to do, only to find myself chickening out when I got scared, telling myself I’m not capable of doing whatever it was.
Let me put in a verse on hope here:
Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times.Romans 12:12 (TPT)
Peter had lost his connection with Jesus as he looked at the impossibility of his circumstances.
Here, Peter is the first to recognize Jesus for who he was:
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”Matthew 16:15-16 (ESV)
Chalk one up for Peter, until:
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”Matthew 16:21-31 (ESV)
Whoa! Clearly it is not a good idea to tell God what he can or cannot do, even if we think our way is better. This is also a reminder that Satan can sneak into our thinking. A good measure is if something contradicts the Word, it’s not from God.
Although there is more of Peter’s life we could delve into, I want to look at one more. It is the familiar telling of Peter’s denial of knowing Jesus.
Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”Matthew 26:31,33-34 (ESV)
We know how that turns out — exactly as Jesus said it would. The point I want to make is that Jesus knows even with our strong faith and best intentions, we will fail at times. When we fall into the pit, that’s when we need to hold on to hope.
Who are you to judge the servant of another? Before his own master he stands [approved] or falls [out of favor]. And he [who serves the Master—the Lord] will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand..Romans 14:4 (AMP)
This is one of my favorite verses. It reminds me not to judge other people by their failures, including me. It is a promise that God will lift me up and put me back on my feet. Just like he did for Peter.
It was only a few days later when Peter was giving the first Holy Spirit filled sermon. (Acts 2) Jesus didn’t give up on him just because of his struggles.
As we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, remember, he lived so we could live, he died so we could live, and he rose so we could live.
Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!Psalm 27:14 (NLT)
Grace & Peace,