Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the author’s blog, Finding God in the Mess, and is shared today with permission. Faithfully, Allison
“After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, ‘Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.”
This morning in devotions, I saw myself in Peter. I didn’t reflect Pentecost evangelical Peter or stepping out of the boat Peter, but anxiety ridden at the cross Peter. Peter, how I wish I related to one of your more shining moments.
There is an element of scary in ministry. It’s scary whether you face malaria as a missionary in Africa or job changes or relationships with broken people in broken systems. It’s scary when God calls us to love in a nursing home or in the inner city or in a wealthy area that we don’t relate to. It’s scary when God says the season is changing. It’s scary when you are not the one in control.
That last supper Peter had confessed his unrelenting love for Jesus. So have I.
Then something horrible happened: Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion. Peter was horrified that this was happening to the lover of his soul. He knew he also was bait for the blood-thirsty. People said, “You seem different. Your speech shows that you’ve been with the Galilean.” Or maybe they said, “I can see God’s hand in this situation.” Or, “was it Jesus that made you different?”
Like Peter, I know Jesus is in the hard part, in the scary, and I just close my eyes and deny it. I instead tell myself, “No, Jesus could not be in the suffering. That couldn’t be MY Jesus.” I pretend like Jesus hasn’t touched my heart in the anxiety. Fear and faith battle in my head. I’ve denied the presence of Jesus in my life because he walks with me through the valley of the shadow of death when all I really want is a Bible-toting genie in a lamp.
So, I’m at this stage. I think many of us are there. Do we confess to what we see Jesus doing in our lives or do we deny his presence out of fear? Peter ran away from shame of denying his Lord, and was then compassionately reinstated. Oh Peter, I want to take you out to coffee. I want to taste the depth of your fears, the grief from your denial, and the joy as being reinstated with Christ. And I want to share my stories too. Maybe we should tell the barista that she should keep the coffee rolling.
Today, we can see where Jesus has been in our lives, even in the scary parts and let our confession glorify God. We can stop giving fear of the scary the throne of our hearts.