This is how life goes: we don’t know the future, we don’t know tomorrow, we can’t even say how today will unfold. For us, every day is a new beginning, free of all the mistakes we may make and full of possibilities. For God, who is present in all our moments yet simultaneously outside of time, all of our deeds and the entirety of our lives are already known. Even so, I cannot be fatalistic; I need to be faith-filled. Though God knows the decisions I will make, I still have to choose, I still have to act. In all the ups and downs of life, the unexpected twists and turns and the choices that I face, I want to live my life running after the Lord, wanting more of Him. God is my everything. All of my hopes are pinned on Him and the promises in His Word. I was purposefully and passionately fashioned by the King and I pursue the Lord with all the passion He has endued me with. The apostle Peter also had a great passion for the Lord. When I read the gospels, my heart beats in time with Peter’s heart. He doesn’t just jump out of the boat once but twice (Matthew 14:29 and John 21:7). Each time he steps out of the boat he does so to get to Jesus. Peter is desperate to be with Him; he is passionate about having more of Jesus. Yet in his passion, Peter is also impulsive. He makes promises he cannot keep (Mark 14:29); he acts recklessly (John 18:10); he is prideful (Luke 22:24-34); he is confused and misses the point (Matthew 17:4); he is earthly minded, not heavenly minded (Matthew 16:23); in a matter of minutes he goes from a faith that can move mountains to a fear so great his faith fails him (Matthew 14:31); and when things don’t go the way he thinks they are supposed to, Peter becomes discouraged and gives up (John 21:3).
I am Peter. I have made promises I could not keep. I have been reckless, proud, confused, earthly minded, full of faith one moment and none the next, discouraged and defeated. I will probably make the rounds of each one of these things again at some point and probably sooner and more often than I would like to believe.
Nonetheless, God in all His mysterious glory incorporates our brokenness into His plan and partners with us to bring about His will. Who else does that? What CEO or president says, ‘bring me the most ruined, unqualified failure you can find, and then set her up with a desk in my office because I’m gonna change the world with that girl!’ Who submits a resume highlighting all their failures and inadequacies? No one. Not even Christians do that. When have you ever seen an advertisement for a Christian concert, conference or workshop that highlights the failings of the musicians or speakers? Instead we are quick to publish biographies praising the many accomplishments of this minister or that evangelist. We need to ask ourselves: are we drawn to Jesus or to man? Who catches my eye: the Lord or one of His servants? God does not care about our accomplishments or accolades, quite the opposite in fact; for our tarnished trophies interfere with His glory. Without the Lord, all our big ministries, mega churches, book sales, altar calls and worship leaders cannot save, change, or comfort. Without the Lord, it’s like we’re just making noise. And God will not share His glory with another (Isaiah 42:8); this is why “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). This is why Peter was God’s man. He was so full of mistakes and failures that it was always evident that the good stuff was God at work in his life. God received all the glory. This is why Jesus said that Peter was a rock upon which He would build His church because we are all called to be passionate Peters: “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). God is calling us to run after His heart, not perfectly but passionately. I am Peter. Who are you?