Thinking back on your life, do you ever think of some time when you really “messed up”? While contemplating that time, do you think that God turned His back on you and that He cannot work with you anymore? So many of us have watershed moments of failure in life that change our focus or direction. Are we to give up? The Scriptures clearly say, “NO!”
Mark 16:7 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, Just as He told you.”
When Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, took spices to the grave of Jesus, they found an angel waiting there for them. He instructed Mary Magdalene and Mary to go find the disciples AND Peter to give them the wonderful news of seeing the risen Christ in Galilee. The angel made special mention of Peter.
Just the day before, Peter, after having sworn he would not betray Jesus, did so while Jesus was being humiliated and beaten in the courtyard by the Roman soldiers at the behest of the Pharisees (Matt. 26:69-75). He vehemently stated he did not know this man, not once, but three times. Peter realizing what he did, wept.
What would we think of ourselves in such a trouble? The loathing, guilt, shame, despair, and helplessness that would be screaming in our ears would be unbearable. But, look at what Yahweh did for Peter. He had the angel specifically say to “tell Peter” the good news.
A short while later, in his resurrected body, Christ had a casual conversation with Peter while cooking fish to eat on the shore near where Peter was fishing (John 21:15-17). Jesus, in his questioning Peter, had Peter confirm his love for Jesus, not once, but three times. What a loving Messiah.
John 21:15, 16 So, when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”
Not only was yesterday’s very serious transgression over and their relationship restored, Jesus had a job for Peter to do – Tend My lambs.
Next, on the day of Pentecost, it was Peter who was given the privilege to speak to the multitudes in Jerusalem, and three thousand people were added to the church that day. Was Yahweh done with Peter after he denied Christ? Not from what the Scriptures record.
Peter was able to accept that he was weak and denied the Messiah, and more importantly, he accepted forgiveness so that he could continue being a disciple of Christ. When we are working in concert with Yahweh, we will make mistakes and fail at times. It is our decision if we quit or keep moving ahead. Yahweh wants us to keep moving on with Him. He is busy reshaping and building our character so that our relationship with Him is strong. It takes time. We live in an age of instant results, instant messages, instant food, instant dating, and instant rewards. A master potter takes time with his clay to fashion the clay into the vessel he desires. It takes time for us to be molded by the Master.
Yahweh took time with Abram for him to become Abraham and be the father of many nations. Yahweh is a pre-planner and constrains us (not overstepping anyone’s will), so that when the time is right, we are ready for the task at hand. David was anointed as king of the Israelites when he was a teen. It took several years of tending his father’s sheep, defeating Goliath, being in the court of King Saul, being hunted as an enemy of Saul, and in the desert being betrayed by those he trusted. David certainly had a lot of character and relationship building to do with Yahweh before he was ready to be King David. Yahweh was teaching David how to be in relationship with Him in every circumstance.
After the Messiah showed himself to Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 8, 9), Paul, formerly known as the Pharisee Saul, spent many years alone with Yahweh and the Scriptures. He learned by way of the holy spirit what Yahweh not only wanted him to know, but also how to be in relationship with Jesus Christ. This idea of being in an intimate relationship with Yahweh and Christ were quite different than what he had dedicated his life to. As shown in these examples, Yahweh’s timing is important, one’s response to Him is important, and proven character is important.*
For our own lives, we may not think of ourselves as an Abraham, David, or Paul, but we are all similar to an Abram, a young David, Saul, Naomi, Ruth, or Mary. We are like those in the book of Acts who heard the gospel news and allowed God, through Jesus Christ and the holy spirit, to transform their lives into a vibrant relationship.
Maybe we need to slow down a little. Possibly, we need to think more without head phones on or a blue electronic light shining on our faces. Maybe we need to allow Yahweh to mold us more, teach us more, talk with us more. As anyone who is married knows, it takes time to be in relationship with someone. We have to want to take the time to talk with, to love, to share, and to receive from the ones we love. Our primary relationship is with Yahweh. He is very ready to teach and to guide us. No matter what your history, checkered or not, Yahweh is not done with you yet.
*Blackaby H., Blackaby R., King C., Experiencing God