I awoke with a start – my heart pounding and my nerves on end. I knew it had only been a dream, but it was enough to fill me with fear. I woke up my sweet husband and asked him to help me because I was scared. (how sweet of me to wake him, right? But don’t worry, he was snoring a few seconds later, just as before, except he now had his arm draped over me “to keep me safe” 😉 ).
FEAR. We have all felt it. Now that I am a parent, I know fear like I never thought I’d know. I choose not to watch the news very often simply because I give in to fear too easily. It’s easy to let fear take over and change your life.
Peter felt fear. He is just like us in that he let fear take over after stepping onto the water. He then fell into the waves and needed saving.
He felt fear on the night that Jesus was arrested. I think he acted out of fear when he cut off the soldier’s ear. I think he REACTED and let fear tell him what to do. For the same reason, he told three different people that he didn’t know Jesus. He was afraid. As any of us would have been.
Can you imagine his remorse? This is the guy who proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus had blessed him and given him a new name because of his faith. He saw Jesus transfigured and even offered to set up a tent for him, Elijah, and Moses! But now that Jesus had been arrested, Peter denied knowing or following Jesus. Not only that, but he denied him while he was around him – near enough that Jesus looked at Peter after he denied him for the third time! Peter knew Jesus. He loved Jesus! But on this night, he let fear take over. Luke 22:62 tells us that Peter “wept bitterly” after denying Jesus. This isn’t a simple cry of sadness, this is a continual, bitter, outloud cry. This is more than the ugly cry – this is the cry of great loss and remorse.
We read this and think, “How could he do that?” I’m sure I would have done the same thing – he was tired and afraid. As we’ve seen before, Peter has a tendancy to say things before thinking. I do the same thing. I’m sure you do, too. Jesus had just before told Peter that Satan wanted to “sift him as wheat,” but that Jesus, himself, prayed for Peter’s faith. Peter knew a trial was coming. So do we. Jesus prayed for us, all believers, when he prayed for his disciples in the garden the night that he was arrested.
Jesus prayed for us. God tells us that we will have trials. We are in the same boat as Peter. We have a choice just as he had a choice: do we choose to identify with Christ in our troubles or do we try our own way and hope for an easier route?
By choosing to identify with Christ, we claim that He is in control no matter what, and we take each trail one step at a time while asking God to help us bring Him glory. When we try our own way, ultimately, we don’t end up bringing God glory. We become overwhelmed because we aren’t strong enough to deal with trouble on our own. We need God. We need help. We need someone to tell us what to do to solve the problem. We need someone constant and trustworthy to call on when we feel afraid and overwhelmed. God.
The beauty of all of this is that even if you have chosen your own way and you’ve messed up, God is still there, looking at you – waiting for you to look at Him. Waiting for you to ask Him to forgive you and help you out of the mess you’ve made. As we’ll see in the next post, God does restore and God does use us no matter how big our mess.
Father, thank You that You are always there. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. Thank You that You are near to us, so near that we only need to turn our eyes to You and ask for forgiveness and for help. Thank You that no matter how big of a mess we make, You are always willing to forgive a repentant heart. May I look to You for guidance instead of giving into fear, because You hold all things in Your hands. Amen.