“And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.”
Jesus told Peter what was going to happen; Peter wasn’t interested in God’s plan being fulfilled. Instead of wanting to hear the gory details, regardless of their source, he only desired what was comfortable.
There aren’t many of us here in the states that have to deal with physically uncomfortable situations. Those of us that do still have means of distraction, like television, radio, loved ones, hobbies. But what about spiritually, mentally, psychologically, emotionally? Are you willing to push yourself in your spiritual growth? Is that even possible? I believe it is…why else are some Bible characters so much closer to God than others? David clearly spent tremendous amounts of time in God’s presence.
But we are afraid. Afraid because we know we cannot trust ourselves, and we know that leaping in puts an even larger target on our backs. Right now, our temptations are manageable (by us). We’d rather live in the “I’m only doing a small amount of good for God, so hopefully I’ll only face a small amount of temptation” zone. And in doing so, our lives will count for a lot less.
We are afraid. Afraid of the trials. We fear the pain, whether physically or emotionally, that we know could come if we are to truly trust God. “Look at what happened to Job,” we tell ourselves. “He was close to God and that’s one of the reasons he endured such horrible tragedy.” Can I just tell you something?
Being farther away from God doesn’t exclude you from enduring trials…it just means He won’t be with you when you go through them!
We are afraid. Afraid of losing. Losing loved ones, losing health, losing respect, losing our happiness. Isn’t that what Peter saw, when Jesus discussed God’s plan with His disciples? That he would be losing Jesus? Losing everything he’d been working for the last three years? Or that Jesus would endure pain?
God’s plan is good. It takes every person’s suffering in a fallen world and validates it. It
brings praise out of pain and wonder out of fear; rejoicing out of ruin and hope out of hurting. Listen to Him when he tells you things that sound unendurable, or frightening, or traumatic. Because what could be more beautiful than our Savior giving His life for us? What could be more glorious than the masterpiece that unfolded on a cross and in a tomb, where the full picture of mercy and grace and newness of life brightened our hearts and eyes?
Take His hand when He reaches towards you to walk with you into the darkness; He will be your light, and He knows where He’s going.