Catch me in my anxious scurrying, Lord, and hold me in this Lenten season:
hold my feet to the fire of your grace and make me attentive to my mortality
that I may begin to die now to those things that keep me
from living with you and my neighbors on this earth;
to grudges and indifference, to certainties that smother possibilities,
to my fascination with false securities, to my addiction to sweatless dreams,
to my arrogant insistence on how it has to be; to my corrosive fear of dying someday
which eats away the wonder of living this day, and the adventure of losing my life in order to find it in you.
Catch me in my aimless scurrying, Lord, and hold me in this Lenten season:
hold my heart to the beat of your grace and create in me a resting place,
a kneeling place, a tip-toe place
One of my favorite characters in the Bible is Peter. I wonder if that’s because I can relate to him in so many ways; for the “flaws in his personality,” for his passionate drive to embody and display his love for Jesus, for his humanity?
Here are few fun facts about this man:
He was a fisherman; a simple, hardworking man.
He was the first to be chosen (by Jesus) to be one of the twelve disciples.
Within this group, Jesus had a trusted inner circle – Peter, James & John. He was one of Jesus’ best friends and he witnessed many things that no one else ever saw- including Jesus’ Transfiguration.
Peter’s heart was repentant and soft, and he allowed the light of Christ to transform him. His very first encounter with Jesus is described in Luke 5, and is a perfect example of this. Upon seeing the miracle of fish, on an otherwise barren fishing trip, Peter realizes his sinful state and gives glory to the Lord before him by falling to his knees and exclaiming, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8) Yet Jesus looked upon him tenderly and said, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” (Luke 5:10)
Peter was caught by the arms of Jesus’ compassion.
In Matthew 14:28-33, we read about Jesus peacefully walking on the water of a very stormy sea. Peter saw him, and got out of the boat (while the others stayed in the boat shaking with fear). But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink, and cried out “Lord, save me!”
And Jesus caught him.
Peter followed close behind in the crowds as Jesus was tortured and tried. As he watch in horror, fear and dashed hope, Peter denied knowing Jesus; not once, but three times. The Bible tells us that as the words of denial left his lips for the third time, a rooster crowed. In that very moment, Peter remembered Jesus’ foretelling words about this event, his heart was deeply convicted and he wept bitterly.
Peter may not of felt it then, but underneath his denials- underneath his mistakes, were the arms of Jesus- saving him once again.
In the deep sorrow of that moment, Peter allowed the conviction of sin to strike him. And in John 21:15-25 (when Jesus gently restored him) we see that he allowed the forgiveness of his sins to lift him up again.
“If they stumble badly they will still survive, for the Lord lifts them up with His hands.” Psalm 37:24
That was Peter; from his first encounter with the nets, to the restoration breakfast on the beach with the risen Jesus.
He was caught.
And, that was our faithful God; offering His strong arms underneath his worst mistakes.
Jesus’ strong arms are ready to save you and me too. There’s grace and forgiveness. We don’t deserve the second, third- or sometimes the hundredth chance He gives us, but He is faithful to catch us; to hold our hearts to the beat of His grace, to lift us out of the ashes and put a new song on our lips.
Do you sometimes feel like God can’t forgive you of a certain sin?
Do you feel like even if God forgives you, you can’t forgive yourself?
Can you let Him catch you, and lean back into the arms that hold you underneath all that, and let Him whisper to you, that He loves you and the slate has been wiped clean today?
“And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.” Ezekiel 11:19 (NLT)