A friend recently sent me a note saying the following, “Rick do you realize you have given God millions of reasons why not to love you?”
I didn’t find his note encouraging, especially since those words came on my birthday.
Fortunately, the note continued, “Rick do you realize you’ve given God millions of reasons why not to love you—and none of those changed his mind.”
He went on and on, “your sin, failures, lack of faith, insecurities, brokenness, and weakness have not changed God’s mind one bit, he has chosen to love you, all the way home.”
I wept joyfully.
Peter is our big brother in that kind of dialogue. He gave God serious reasons why not to love him, and none of those things changed God’s mind.
Peter did the following, see if you can relate:
- Rebuked God (Matthew 16:22)
- Spoke embarrassingly out of turn (Matthew 17:4)
- Denied Christ (Matthew 26:69)
Peter told Jesus he was wrong, talked loudly when he should’ve been quiet, and when everything was on the line, flat out blew it. Mind you, while Peter was denying Christ, he most likely heard Jesus being tortured.
But God’s grace was sufficient for Peter. At the empty tomb, Jesus said these famous words, “Go tell Peter.” One of Jesus’ first commands after rising from the dead, was to make sure his fallen brother knew about God’s unending love.
Peter’s drama-filled errors put a glare on his great victories, but in reality, he did well in more than one situation.
Here are a few:
- Immediately left everything to follow Jesus (John 1:42)
- Got out of the boat and walked on water (Matthew 14:28)
- Confessed Jesus had the words to eternal life (6:68)
- Confessed Jesus was God and Savior. (Matthew 16:16)
- Preached the churches first sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2)
- Saved and healed countless many (Acts 3)
- Led the church (Acts 11)
- Died heroically for the faith in Rome
In light of Peter’s testimony, it seems fair to ask the question, what does pain do to you?
Most people run, few soak themselves in the blood of Christ, drawing near to their divine lover.
As the years go on, I am frequently in awe of Bethany Hamilton. If you follow her on social media, you know she is now a mom. While surfing as a young gal, a shark took her arm. She was considered by some on her way to being the best female surfer in the history of the sport.
She chose the cross, and now lives as an ongoing embodiment of Christ’s supernatural power. With one arm, she surfed professionally. She scorned the shame of her wound, showing herself and lost arm in public.
God took her shark-eaten arm and attached to her life an epic Jesus story.
Such is the power of God.