I don’t like to mess up, full stop. I used to berate myself when I made mistakes, so I would often experience shame & guilt. Maybe you have some similar challenges or know someone who struggles with this as well. Here’s some hope: Peter – I think Peter’s greatest shortfall was when he denied Jesus, not one time but three. In Luke 22:61-62 it says, “The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.” Thankfully, this isn’t the end of the story. In John 21, we read that Jesus went the extra mile to meet up with Peter after His resurrection. They had a very powerful conversation on the beach & Peter affirms three times that he loves Jesus. Jesus reconciles where we’ve messed up.
Thomas – good ol’ Doubting Thomas (that’s an identity I’d prefer to skip); here’s the guy that brings doubt to the party when everyone is exuberantly proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection! John 20:25, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And that’s exactly what happened. Jesus met Thomas at the point of his unbelief & helped him overcome this hurdle.
Both Peter & Thomas were reconciled to Jesus despite their failures. Messing up isn’t the conclusion when we come to Jesus with the broken & dysfunctional in our lives. Reconciliation is one of the glorious results of redemption!
Yesterday, I mentioned a few thoughts about being alone so I thought it fitting to look at the other side today – crowded. Some people love crowds & revel in the energy, noise & pulsation of people collections – concerts, mosh pits, congregations, World Series & symphonies come to mind.
If you struggle with crowds, here are some ideas from Jesus’ skin time:
Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw a crowd
Jesus saw & crowd & their need for leadership (sheep without a shepherd)
Jesus knew that a crowd was the conduit for His necessary crucifixion & ultimate resurrection.
Let’s see crowds & more importantly people, from God’s perspective: individuals available for redemption & reconciliation 🙂
Sometimes people treat “alone” like a disease that needs a vaccination or a dysfunction that requires a remedy. We tend to fill our minds with music, social media, events, appointments, text messages, books, entertainment and anything we can conveniently grasp to immunize us from this “scary” state of being alone and quiet. It’s a conundrum to me that we’ll tolerate zombies, vampires, ghosts & spooky Halloween stuff with a lite comic wink but what shivers our spine & tweaks our nerves is solitude & the thought of being alone.
Yet being alone is an important ingredient for being human. Consider some of the incredible outcomes Jesus experienced from being alone:
Jesus’ testing in Matthew 4 was initiated by the Holy Spirit leading Him into the wilderness – He came out of that experience with anointing & power.
Jesus went up on a mountain by Himself to pray through the night – when He came down, He chose His 12 disciples who perpetuated Jesus’ ministry.
Gethsemane was an alone time for Jesus – He surrendered His will so that we could live in reconciliation with God
I get that we aren’t Jesus, but maybe some of the things we most desperately need come from what we most ardently avoid 🙂
When I was in my early 20s, I went through an experience that made me think that God had abandoned me. The short-term result was a deeply personal search for truth that I could own. The long-term result was a certainty in my faith in God that’s now virtually unshakable. But the beginning of that journey started w the sense of being abandoned by God.
Have you felt a time(s) when it seemed like God abandoned you? If you’ve come out of that struggle, do you still believe today that God abandoned you??? If you don’t believe that He abandoned you, what changed???
I’d seriously like your feedback as I’m doing some exploring w God on this topic. Pls leave a comment 🙂
I’ve never been one to watch wrestling – even in my teenage tv watching years i couldn’t get into it. Be that as it may, one of my fav Bible stories is with Jacob & him wrestling with God in Gen 32:22-31. I totally love this story because its very confrontational & has so many good life lessons. Here are a few things that stand out to me:
Jacob wrestled alone: no one helped him, came to his rescue or even cheered for him. This wrestling match was between God & Jacob. There will be times when God will (or has) invite(d) you to wrestle through a problem with Him, by yourself. Don’t try to get other people to join your cause – wrestling is a one-on-one sport.
Jacob wrestled in the dark: he couldn’t see well, possibly lost his bearings from time to time & couldn’t really tell what was going on around him. Sometimes when we wrestle w God, we can’t really see what’s going on – uncertain future, obscure present, unclear direction, etc.
Jacob left this experience w a limp. Whenever you wrestle w God, expect to be changed. Infinite will always overcome finite.
Jacob didn’t let go, even when his hip was wrenched. There are times when we want to quit on God, walk away, drop out of church, unplug & disconnect from Him – especially when we’re in a wrestling season w God. But these are the exact times when we need to hold onto Him the most.
There are lots of thoughts & insights about Jacob’s wrestling match w God – care to share any of your insights? 🙂