Read His Words Before Ours!
I closed the door and stood motionless in the center of our bedroom. Memories spilled across my senses, and my breath caught in my chest. My mind and heart knew that our infant daughter was gone, but my body seemed slow to accept that reality. The gentle pulse of the ceiling fan pulled me back to the present. My throat, choked with anger only moments before, was suddenly empty save the hollow ache of loss. My clenched fists loosened and my arms began to throb with now familiar pangs of emptiness. I dropped my head in shame.
Yet again, I was driving away my partner, my lover, my friend. Rather than brave the crippling pain that crept over me at the most unexpected times, I chose denial of my true emotions and a less painful one (anger) instead. Not anger at God, but anger, nonetheless. Our future together, once so clear and hopeful, seemed obscured by a dense fog. I loved my husband, but I just couldn’t seem to see past my grief. At a time when bravery, truth, and love were most needed, I faltered.
Long ago, a similar scene enfolded.
“I don’t know what you are talking about!” Even as the words flew across his lips, a wave of nausea washed over him. He had done it.
He glanced up, and the Man across the courtyard caught his gaze. Time seemed to stop, and the voices around him faded as his ears registered the distant echo of a rooster’s crow. Sad, gentle eyes locked with his own. Seeing all. Forgiving all. The pull of regret was strong, and as the sobs began to rise, he turned to run.
Simon Peter, the Zealot. He desired knowledge, wisdom, and to passionately follow Christ. He was fervent, driven, and human. He wanted to keep the One he loved safe, to the point of harming another, even when he knew that Jesus was destined to die by divine plan. And then, when he most wanted to prove loyal, brave and true, he faltered.
I can relate. Can you?
Peter denied Jesus, the One he loved, the Son of God.
And yet, Jesus proclaimed that on Peter He would build His church. He was and is God Incarnate, which means He is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (all-present), and omnipotent (all-powerful). Jesus knew that Peter would fail Him, but He also knew that Peter’s better days were coming.
He knew that the power of Holy Spirit is real and when He descended, His influence was unstoppable. He knew that through Holy Spirit, men and women can be changed, redeemed, restored, reshaped and rebuilt. Not just Peter, but you and me.
He knew that through the redemptive power of Holy Spirit, the same man that had faltered, that had denied Him in His darkest hours, would later boldly proclaim that Jesus was the Christ.
Peter, once weak and fearful, was completely and totally changed. Rather than holding on to the shame he so easily could have worn in the aftermath of his denials, he chose instead to shed it for divine forgiveness and grace. Transformed by the power of Holy Spirit, he was fearless in the face of the very men that crucified Jesus.
And not only fearless, but bold.
Proclaiming truth in love to crowds of people.
Thousands accepted Christ in the wake of Holy Spirit’s transformation of Peter…and His power is no different today than it was then.
Recognizing in myself a denial not completely unlike Peter’s, I knelt beside our bed. The wooden floor scraped my knees and my hands trembled. Voice cracking, I began to plead. “Jesus. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. I don’t know where to go from here. This pain is…unspeakable. I know You are here, and I know You are good. But I can’t find You right now. We need You, I need You.”
Bravery can look like many things, but at its core, bravery proclaims Truth with Grace, whether to a friend, to our marriage, to our children, to a stranger, or to ourselves. Bravery faces our darkness and asks for powerful Light to free and fuel us.
And while it may not be our natural inclination, we can take heart that through the transformative power of the Holy Spirit, bravery is ours, too. Jesus’s sacrifice paved the way for us to be convicted, wrecked, redeemed, and restored, that we might face whatever lies in front of us with the supernatural bravery that comes only through Him.
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