A question we all must ask ourselves at some point or other is “Do I really mean what I say?”
Sure, we might make promises to God, and maybe for the most part, we carry them out. But there are those times when we say things with the best intentions, thinking we might just mean it, when in all actuality, we don’t. We’re all talk and no action.
Peter knows what this is like.
On the Mount of Olives before Jesus’ death, Peter tells Jesus, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” In response, Jesus predicts Peter’s denial of him, to which Peter says, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. (Matthew 26:31-35)
For the people who read this for the first time without any knowledge of what is to come, this might seem a reality. They believe that what Peter is saying is true, even if Jesus predicts it otherwise. They want to believe it is true. After all, this is a follower of Christ. How could Peter speak such a strong vow if he doesn’t have the intentions of keeping it?
For those of us who already know how the story ends, Peter does indeed disown him. Three times. And when he realized that what Jesus said was true, “he went outside and wept bitterly.” (Matthew 26:75)
Peter messed up.
Yet when Jesus is raised from the dead several days later, who does he say to announce his presence to? “…his disciples and Peter.” (Mark 16:7). Once he reached his disciples, he then gave them the authority to make disciples across the earth, what we refer to as the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus closes with, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of age.”
If you look again at Mark 16:7, you see that Peter was called out of the bunch. Why?
Because even when he messed up, Jesus wanted him and us to know that he loves Peter and forgives Peter all the same.
Like Peter, we too are often guilty of not giving Him the glory He deserves. We are sometimes ashamed of the Gospel, too afraid to reach out to our neighbors or claim that we are walking with Christ. We might say we’re Christian to people who ask, but the words stop there.
We might tell God on Sunday mornings in church that we will follow Him wherever He leads. We say that we’re surrendering our lives to Him and we’re going to do all we can to live for Him. Yet when we go back to our lives the following day, our routine continues and the words we spoke the day before are forgotten.
God sees our hearts. He knows we may say these things, but not really have the intentions of following through.
Yet what we learn from His Word is that He loves us and forgives us all the same. He still gives us chances to proclaim His name. He allows us the opportunities to take up our cross.
What have you been telling God lately?
Do you really mean what you say?
I just finished watching, “All About Steve”, a comedy featuring Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper. Most comedy movies actually contain some insightful knowledge before the ending. This one was no exception. I was barely through watching half of the movie when one of the characters, a helpful truck driver, said to Mary, played by Bullock, “If you miss a bus, I’m thinking maybe you weren’t meant to take it.” And right then and there I said to myself, “I have to blog about this.” So here I am. Don’t worry, there’s a point to all of this.
The reason why this quote stuck out to me is because I personally love metaphors. And this was such a major one! Hopefully, you caught onto the fact that it was a metaphor. If not… well, I’ll try my best to explain what this one means to me.
“If you miss a bus, I’m thinking maybe you weren’t meant to take it.” The truck driver could’ve been talking about missing a literal bus, but my mind dives deeper than that. To me, the bus symbolized an opportunity. If you miss an opportunity, maybe you weren’t meant to take it. We are all given chances and opportunities- reconnecting with an old friend, taking on a new job, getting hitched, or even buying an ice cream sundae from Dairy Queen on the way home from work. The funny thing is that sooner or later, we all miss chances and opportunities too.
You may have hesitated to make a decision, you may have waited too long, or you may have taken a different route. The point is that opportunities come and go and we are bound to miss some really good ones. The thing that most people don’t realize is that we can’t possibly see the big picture. We don’t know what circumstances are coming our way. We can’t predict our futures, and we can’t believe that every chance we get will be our only one.
God opens doors and He closes them too. He throws our plans into the garbage and makes His own. Truth be told, we really have no idea what God’s doing in our lives right now. His timing is not like ours. While we may get impatient after a few minutes of waiting in line at the cash register, God has unlimited time to spend! He knows what He’s doing.
You may have recently missed a great opportunity. The thing to remember, though, is that God has a specific plan for each of us. If things didn’t go the way you planned them, so what? It’s not yours to decide. Sometimes He allows us to miss out on opportunities because He has something GREATER in store for us! Sometimes we really aren’t meant to take them! If you have any regrets right now, let them go and start to trust that God’s doing something bigger and better than any of us could imagine. You may have missed a bus or two, but don’t worry. There are plenty more coming your way.