I’ve always been able to relate to Peter, the disciple who denied Jesus.
He’s one of my favorite people in the Bible. Not only because of his blatant mistakes (which encourage us ordinary messes), but because of his passion.
When he did anything, he did it big and brash, including making a fool of himself. (Jesus even called him Satan one time.. ouch.) Yet Peter is also the one who boldly declared that Jesus was the Christ. He is the one Jesus called the rock upon which he would build his church. He is the one who leaped out of the boat and ran to shore when he spotted the resurrected Jesus.
I imagine I would have done the same.
Last month, however, a minister prayed over me, “Don’t be like Peter. Be like John, the one whom Jesus loved.”
At first, I neither liked this prayer nor understood it. But weeks later, it clicked. He meant the impulsive Peter who says he’ll go all the way and then doesn’t follow through. The Peter who said he would die with Jesus and then abandoned him.
He was saying not to be like that.
Sometimes I make pretty bold statements to God, just like Peter.
But the thing about bold, impulsive statements is, sometimes you end up feeling an obligation to follow through with something your heart is no longer behind. In that moment, you meant it quite fiercely, but now, all that remains is an opportunity to fail. (That’s how it can feel, at least.)
This prayer about not being like Peter was spoken in the context of affirmation that I am one who goes all the way, who does whatever God says to do, who says whatever He tells me to say. It’s not that that isn’t true. But to be able to follow through on such bold statements requires something more.
It requires a knowledge of how loved you are.
God gave me a picture recently of two people who are at the beginning stages of liking each other. They end up in the same places, they end up talking to each other, they share these moments together, because the feeling is mutual. He said to me, “It’s not one-sided.”
Suddenly I realized He was talking about our relationship.
He said, “You’re not just longing to be with Me, I’m longing to be with you. You’re not just waiting on Me, I’m waiting on you. You’re not just looking for Me, I’m looking for you.” And I burst into tears.
A long time ago, God gave me a vision of Jesus holding out his hand to me
on stormy waters, asking if I would come with him into the unknown. I knew that nothing was guaranteed on this journey except that he would be there. And I said yes.
The journey is long, and sometimes you can lose sight of why you are on it.
Well, I for one am staying this course not because of stubbornness or self-discipline, not because I’m a person of integrity who follows through on her words (though I hope I am that, too), nor because of some guarantee that I will see everything I hope for come to pass.
I am staying the course because of the love of the one who invited me on it. I go loved––I go as “the girl He loves.” And I go all the way because I am so utterly in love with him.