I had one of these moments just now. Like, literally, fifteen minutes ago. Do you have these a lot? Where something so blatantly obvious was unknown or unrealized to you, and then a switch goes off, and A-HA!!!
I am reading 1 Peter. Well, I've read it three times in the past week. Don't be impressed; it's a short, five chapter book. It caught my eye last week because of the title it was given by the publisher: Christians Under Construction. I'm still under construction, probably still in the beginning stages if I want to be completely candid, so I thought, "I should re-read that." And I did, and then I decided I would focus on it for a few weeks. Absorb it. Mull it over. There's a lot in there that tickles my brain.
This morning, I noticed that the author talks a lot about suffering because of the name of Christ. That's not something that means a lot to me personally anymore; thankfully, all my friends are believers, and I can't say that I've suffered, been made fun of, been persecuted lately for the cause of Christ. Maybe this means I am not stretching myself enough, but that would be another post, I guess. But it was this verse in the closing of the book that I particularly was drawn to:
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 5:8-9
Now, I know all about those types of sufferings. I am fascinated by the concept of the devil, how he longs for our souls and to drag us down. I have always been interested in the concept of spiritual warfare. And so the passage got my wheels to turning (which is difficult for me in the mornings even after my mammoth cup of coffee), and then the obvious hit me in the head about the author of this book: Peter, the apostle who denied Christ three times before he was crucified.
Then the words took a different meaning. Totally different meaning. The verse above becomes the warning label on Peter's packaging. Because he knows. He felt it. He lived it. The devil got him. Remember the deal ~ he was warned by Jesus that he would deny him, and Peter thought he had gone mad. No way - no way I'll do that. And then he did. And then some time later he writes this book, and here I am reading it umpteen years later in my comfy chair.
There's a certain comfort to me in knowing Peter's faults, in knowing that he blew it big time yet was still able to live for Christ after the fact. He made a huge mistake, but he worked past it. I think about all the times I thought, "Oh, I'll never do that or make those types of mistakes or be that kind of person..." only to find that what you never dreamed possible becomes truth. But the grace is bigger than the sum of my sins, than all my never-dreamed-it-possible mistakes. That I can press on through them and still be a servant for Christ. I just think that's beautiful.
I don't know if any of this makes any sense to anyone else out there in the great beyond, but it did to me. And I wanted to share. Because if anyone else is reading this and thinks (like I do so often) that their mistakes overshadow their ability to make a difference and speak up for the name of Christ, I think Peter shows us differently. We all fall, we all make the big mistakes, and no one is immune to Satan's temptations. Not the apostles, not the preacher at the big, fancy Baptist church, and not the stay-at-home-mom. So, I guess it's not so much the mistakes we make but what we learn from them.