Sunday, September 13, 2009

Strengthened by remembrance

As I woke up today and thought more about yesterday's entry, I deeply felt there was more to write. Both my mind and heart hovered over the meditation brought up in chapel by our school principal.

Just as in Luke chapter five, when Peter is learning what it means to trust Jesus fully, only Jesus knew what would soon happen when Peter would deny him not once, but three times. I believe that Jesus also knew that Peter's trust in him was at the root of this and would play out in his denial of his Lord in the coming hours. What Jesus says next is disturbing, to say the least, for he tells Peter that Satan has demanded to have him, that he might sift him like wheat.

However, even though Jesus knew that Peter would deny him and struggle as Satan brought trial against him in this time of failure, Jesus states, "And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." It says "when" you have turned, not "if." Jesus looked beyond Peter's failing to his future triumph as he would establish the foundation of the church in the Lord's grace for its future expansion . Jesus knew what Peter was capable of and who he actually was as God's son. As our school principal stated in chapel, "Jesus is not surprised at our screw-ups. Jesus has prayed for us that our faith won't fail. He looks past our failure to being fast in our walk with him atfterward, being strengthened and not quitting in faith."

And so this brings us back to Peter in the boat, straining and striving to catch fish all night. What Peter learned here, I think, is that self-effort is no effort at all--that it is ultimately failing. However, the same grace that lifted Peter out of his circumstances when he failed to fill his nets with fish was the same grace which looked beyond Peter's failure when denying Jesus to his death. But Jesus himself prayed on Peter's behalf and he prays on ours as well, interceding for us that we might not fail.

I certainly have had my bout of victories as well as trials while on this journey at Bible College in Australia. I believe that because the enemy knows what fruit is coming out of this season, he is trying his best to sift me and throw me off course. However, I can take confidence knowing that Jesus is interceding for me even right now, just as he did for Peter, that my faith might not fail. It is the same for every one of us. I am convinced that oftentimes when we step into a place where the Lord wants us most, we meet the greatest amount of opposition. But we will not fail, as Jesus is himself interceding for us.

Our school prinicpal relayed that when the enemy came to sift us during our journey at Bible College, one of our greatest weapons with which to fight him is to remember all of the ways the Lord has revealed Himself to us--how he has shown his faithfulness to us in times past.

The Israelites, who we learn much from, seemed to unfortunately lack the abilitiy to do this. In Psalm 106, it notes how God delivered his people out of the hands of the Egyptians, bringing them across the read sea, then miraculously providing for their every need in the desert. However, this provision was not enough for them and they began to mumble and groan in their spirit. This was an act of mistrust and doubt. Verse seven illustrates this well: "Our fathers in Egypt understood not nor appreciated Your miracles; they did not [earnestly] remember the multitude of Your mercies nor imprint Your loving-kindness [on their hearts], but they were rebellious and provoked the Lord at the sea, even at the Red Sea." Even though they doubted all along the way, the Lord continued to show his faithfulness to his people. Verse thirteen goes on to reveal more of the tragedy of it all: "But they hastily forgot His works; they did not [earnestly] wait for His plans [to devlop] regarding them..." (Amplified Bible)

As I begin to reflect on this, I am ashamed to even admit my doubt and lack of trust while facing questions of the Lord's provision during this current chapter. The Lord has taken care of me all during this year in every single realm, health, finance, friendship, community... the list goes on. And all of these provisions have been through the body of Christ--God's family. Why would he stop his provision now?

I must remind myself that Jesus is wooing me to himself to bring me to a place of complete trust as I become more aware of my own lack of resources, just like Peter's lack of resources in his midnight fishing fiasco. It is in this place of dire need where the Lord chooses to fill our net to the greatest extent we have yet known--full to bursting! It is in this moment that he works a miracle.

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