When Life Doesn’t Go as We Planned
The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” John 18:17
We all have expectations, hopes, and dreams about what our future should look like. We all have plans about where we want to go, what we want to do, and who will be in our lives. Some things pan out that way we imagined, but if we go back ten years, I’d bet very few of us saw the trials and changes that were coming our way. Life often simply does not run according to our plans. People get sick, bad things happen, friends and family let us down. Or, we may fail, letting others down. How do we respond when life doesn’t go the way we think it should?
In today’s passage, we’re told of Peter’s failure when life took an unexpected turn. In the story, Jesus was arrested and taken to the high priest for questioning. Despite Jesus’ prophecies about what was to come, Peter simply didn’t want that future. He likely desired that things continue just as they had. Now, his hopes and dreams were suddenly threatened. Just a short time earlier, he’d boldly drawn his sword in defense of Christ. After Jesus’ arrest though, he feared a little servant girl. When she asked him if he was a disciple of Christ, to save himself, he denied even knowing Jesus.
We may not renounce knowing Christ, but we too, often encounter a crisis of faith when life takes an unexpected turn for the worse. As long as things run according to our plans, we’re fine with God being in control. Thanks for all the good things you’ve given me God. When however, trials come our way, we begin to question him. Why God? How could you allow this to happen? I thought you loved me.
Peter’s flaw was that his peace and joy were at least in part, dependent on life following his plans. When that was disrupted, his faith crumpled. Peter did of course, eventually pull it together, but in the moment of crisis, his faith fell apart.
We don’t know the future and we cannot plan for the unexpected. We can however, daily follow God’s plan instead of our own. In doing so, our peace and joy lie not in circumstances, but in the one who governs all circumstance.