Sunday morning on the way to church, my oldest daughter said, "Mom, I'm reading through each Gospel, comparing the words spoken." And my heart soars that she cares.
"I have a question," she said. She read this to me:
" 'As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
" 'Don't be alarmed,' he said. 'You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter.' "—Mark 16:5-7
"Mom, why do you think the angel singled out Peter?" she asked. "He was a disciple." (my NIV study notes state that the 'young man' was an angel)
Why wasn't he lumped in with the team? she'd wondered.
And sometimes we wait for the answers ...
I certainly don't know all the answers, but I turned around from the front seat, peering into the back, and told her something like this—
"Baby, do you remember what Peter had just done to Jesus? He had just denied Him three times. Three times." And without my Bible in front of me, I said, "Do you remember how Peter tore his clothes? Peter was miserable. He may have even hated himself for what he'd done, what he'd done to Jesus, to himself, to his team. He'd done wrong, and he hurt the one he loved—Jesus.
"And you know, I imagine everyone had heard what Peter had done," I continued. "You know how word gets around. And I wouldn't be surprised if some considered Peter completely useless. A failure. And I'm sure Peter felt like a failure. Useless. Could the 'team' have even considered him useless? A failure?
"But what a sweet lesson ... the angel was telling them not to forget about Peter. He's still in this game. He's still use-able. And the angel singled him out, showing how important he still was in spite of his imperfections—God had great plans for Peter. Don't give up on Peter. Include Peter. Go ... tell Peter."
And what a joy to find the answers. My daughter's smile grew, her eyes enlarged with a glow. She had caught the excitement of exactly what God can do for us—
Peter had been caught and kept. He wasn't thrown back because he was too small, not worthy, didn't measure up.
Praise God for Peter's story, because that means there's hope for me. I've felt like Peter. I've let down others, let down myself. I've mourned yesterday.
And like Peter, something whispers to me, "Failure."
The tempter continues, "You should have been ..."
And with tears pooling, I'm hooked captive to failure.
But God singles me out. He frames my face with His hands and whispers into my heart, "Failing doesn't make you a failure."
Truth within my heart perseveres.
Failing is God's heavenly lure to keep one striving, loving, hoping, and serving.
We've been caught and kept. Praise God, we're still in this game.
And ... (insert your name here).
Take hold of the lure and be encouraged. Let Jeremiah 29:11 ring your heavenly lure's bell today—" 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the LORD, 'and will bring you back from captivity.' "
Have you felt like you've let down God? Let down others? Have you felt like a failure? Have you seen God turn your failures around? Do you have anything to add to my daughter's question? I'll tell her your input ... I promise!