When I Have Failed
Matthew 26:74,75 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
I sympathize with Peter. I too have turned my back on God and have felt the bitter sting of regret. I too have been inconsistent in keeping the faith. Peter was bold when with Christ, but when Jesus was arrested, his world came apart and his faith crumbled. With Jesus gone, he was again distracted by the wind and the waves. Peter again began to sink, only this time, Jesus was not there to save him. With Christ gone, Peter abandoned his faith.
Jesus had predicted this. A few verses earlier, Jesus told Peter that before the night was through, he would deny him not once, but three times. Peter vehemently denied this. In a moment of false bravado, Peter insisted, Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!
Peter’s faith held up even when they came to arrest Jesus. Defending his teacher, he pulled a sword and attacked one of those who would do him harm. As long as he could see Christ, Peter was bold. Once Christ was out of sight though, he folded.
There are two lessons here for me. The first and most obvious is that it is in keeping my eyes on God that I am faithful. When I take my eyes off him, I become distracted by the wind and waves of the world and I make poor choices based on those concerns. When I follow God above all, everything is in its proper place. When I put anything above God, my world is out of order.
The second lesson is in how God views my failures and lack of faith. Long before Peter’s denial, Jesus told Peter that he was the rock upon which the church would be built, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). Jesus was Peter’s biggest cheerleader even while knowing that Peter would eventually fail and deny him. Jesus could see past Peter’s failure to see that which he would become. He could see the bigger picture.
After Jesus resurrection, we are told that Peter was the first to enter the empty tomb. With the return of Christ, Peter’s faith was restored and he went on to fulfill Jesus’ prophecy of building his church.
Our vision is often so short-sighted. In the middle of life’s mess, it is so easy to lose faith and turn our gaze from God. Then we sink and wonder why. We fail and like Peter, we weep bitterly, thinking that all is lost. We cannot see the big picture as God can. We fail to see how God works through our failure to bring about his plan. Even when all hope is lost to us, God is working.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.