Is it wrong to have a favorite disciple? Because I do. Hands down, Peter and I have so much in common I simply can’t help but love the guy.
So devoted, yet so cowardly. So impetuous. So sincere. So human.
I’ve been thinking about the risks I’m taking in my life right now. I guess ultimately, we could consider a good many decisions in our lives as risks. Job decisions, relationship decisions, etc. So I’ve been thinking about Peter and some of the risks he took. First of all, he turned away from the only job he’d ever known to follow Jesus. Risk. But he was the first of the disciples to recognize and call Jesus who He really was – the Messiah, the Son of God. Secondly, when the storms were tossing him and his little friends all over the water, he was the only one who stepped out of the boat. Risk. But he is the only man to have walked on water besides Jesus and it seemed as though there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for his Lord.
Then the guards came. Came to arrest Jesus. And Peter was the only one who seemed ready to put up a fight about it. Yet within just a few hours, he would deny the One for whom he had risked so much and grown so much in his faith. And he despaired. Oh how he must have despaired. For someone like Peter, the guilt of denying Jesus must have been torment for him. But boy did it humble him.
See, I relate to Peter’s great moments of faith. Moments when he took a risk and rose above expectations and took a giant leap forward in his faith. And I also relate to his overwhelming fear and how, in the midst of that fear, it would seem he failed in his faith.
And it would be a failure, if that was the end of Peter’s story. But it wasn’t. And isn’t.
After the resurrection, many of the disciples went back to same old-same old. Peter was one of them. He went back to fishing – probably trying to figure out how he could ever be satisfied with so mundane a life ever again.
And then, on one particularly slow day at work, a man calls out from the shore, “Cast your nets on the other side of the boat.” So, they do. And the nets are full to breaking. As a sense of deja vu slams Peter in the gut, he realizes Who is calling from the shoreline, leaps outta the boat and swims to the shore. I have this image so clearly in my head – Peter, drenched in seawater, gasping for breath, tears stinging his eyes, apologies formulating in his mind but unable to speak. And Jesus, smiling, taking in his wet mess of a friend, forgiveness all over His kind face. The risk-taker is restored.
My life of risks often feels like Peter’s. Great mountain highs where my faith feels unshakeable – and great, deep valleys of failure. And there are times when it seems as though God is silent…..disappeared from my sight. So I go throughout my mundane daily routine and suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, I’ll see a glimpse of my Savior in some form. Maybe a song that speaks to my soul, a friend with an encouraging word, my husbands unconditional loving embrace, the innocent expression on my childs face. And, like Peter, I run to it. I stand before it, gasping and dripping and tears forming. And I am restored.
I long for the day when I see Christ face to face. To look into those knowing eyes. To be off the faith vs risk roller coaster once and for all.
However, in the meantime, I take some comfort in my old disciple friend, Peter. Because he was so very imperfect, but he took risks. And Jesus used him in such mighty ways. So at the end of the day, Peter’s imperfections didn’t matter. Even his mistakes didn’t matter. Because it was his willingness to risk it all, to trust, that ultimately mattered.