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Sometimes When I Fail . . .

Sometimes when I fail, I forget I have been forgiven.

Sometimes when I fail, I forget I can get back up and take a go at life again.

Sometimes when I fail, I forget to forgive – myself.

Sometimes when I fail, I forget there are no do overs in life but I can learn from my mistakes.

One of our lessons in Israel was about Peter’s denial of Jesus. But the chilling part was the scripture – the part where Jesus, being led away in chains, turned and looked directly into Peter’s eyes.

This is the ancient path between the now ruins of Caiaphus' and Anas' homes. To see how it has survived over two centuries is breathtaking. To walk it - soul stirring in the deepest ways.

This is the ancient path between the now ruins of Caiaphus’ and Anas’ homes. To see how it has survived over two centuries is breathtaking. To walk it – soul stirring in the deepest ways.

In that moment, there is no way for me to imagine how that felt. I believe Jesus looked with compassion upon Peter, yet, if I had been standing in Peter’s shoes, I doubt I would have interpreted it like that.

You can read it in in Luke 22:61

Time passed.  Peter was in Jerusalem the morning the women returned from the tomb with the news Jesus’ tomb was empty. Peter and John ran to see for themselves – John 20:6.  John stopped just outside the tomb, but Peter went running right into it. John then followed.

What gave Peter the courage to go straight in?

We find Peter again one day out on the sea, fishing. He was with several of the other disciples. When Jesus called to them, John told them it was Jesus. Peter put his robe on and jumped into the water to get to Jesus as quickly as possible.

When Jesus asked them to bring fish, Peter immediately went to the boat to get them.

Jesus began questioning Peter about sheep.

It was here Jesus began to turn Peter from a life of being a fisherman to becoming a shepherd in John 21:15-19.

In this place, it is thought Jesus prepared a fire and cooked fish for His disciples. This was after they had fished all night and caught nothing. When He instructed them to throw the net on the other side of the boat, they caught 153 large fish according to John 21:11.

In this place, it is thought Jesus prepared a fire and cooked fish for His disciples. This was after they had fished all night and caught nothing. When He instructed them to throw the net on the other side of the boat, they caught 153 large fish according to John 21:11.

Later, in Acts 10 Peter’s dream is instruction from God, telling him to go to Cornelius in Caesarea – a Gentile – who will be the first Gentile convert we meet.

These are some of the major stories involving Peter. Can you imagine how terrifying it would be for Peter – the man who could not confess to being a follower of Christ that night in the garden and again at Caiaphus’ house – who flat out denied knowing Jesus as the rooster crowed for the third time – who now was being called to a work that would challenge the belief system of every Jew alive?

WOW.

Peter’s journey carried him from being timid to being bold.

Then I wonder:  How many ways does my life parallel the life of Peter? I really love him. He is so human and so relatable to me.

And then I remember times I have denied God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit – maybe not in words as much as actions or choices I made.

And then I remember the remorse and the shame because the denial never gave me a moment’s peace, and I don’t believe it did for Peter either.

And then I know how it feels to be forgiven.

And I want to always know the importance of forgiving myself.

And I want to always remember sitting on the beach of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus turned Peter into a shepherd and imagine the comfort of His conversations and his message and his encouragement as Peter began anew.

These stones lay across the beach thought to have been the place where Jesus called to the disciples while they were fishing. The heart shaped stones used to be the base for pillars in this area. I can't think of a better way to display them than across this beach where Jesus displayed such love for His disciples after His resurrection.

These stones lay across the beach thought to have been the place where Jesus called to the disciples while they were fishing. The heart shaped stones were used as the base for pillars in this area. I can’t think of a better way to display them than across this beach where Jesus displayed such love for His disciples after His resurrection.

And I remember – I, too, can learn from the mistakes of my past. God loves me too.

I want the boldness of Peter.

I want to run full speed towards Jesus.

I want to know the soft whisper of encouragement of our Savior in my ear, and I want to bravely face whatever God has laid out for me in the remaining days to come.

What does that look like? I have absolutely no idea.

Tonight I sit in India – from Israel to India – challenged yet trusting God to sort out all the questions in my mind. Where will He call me next? What will that look like? What will that require of me?

And the list could go on.

It is because I know I am forgiven of my past, because as I have become an empty shell of a person through my life experiences, it is God who has filled me up. He has looked upon me with the same compassion He looked upon Peter that night.

And I know I am loved.

So, in the stillness of my hotel room tonight, in a city in India, I can honestly say:  I know it will be ok because God is there in those tomorrows just as He is here in this today – and it is good.

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12

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