That first sentence is all it takes: "The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter." Hours after my meltdown the other day, I felt led to pick up the Oswald Chamber book, "My Utmost For His Highest." The devotion for that day started with this sentence: "Whenever a thing becomes difficult in personal experience, we are in danger of blaming God, but it is we who are in the wrong, not God, there is some perversity somewhere that we will not let go." It was as if the Lord was looking straight at me! My response was to immediately start looking back over what had transpired that day and asking God to walk me through and show me what specifically I needed to deal with. The first area for work is pride. That is a little broad, so I have been trying to really hear the voice of God for specifics. It is a humbling experience to come face to face with your sin. We don't really like to talk about sin these days, but it is what it is! Jesus gave His very life that we might be freed from it's clutches. Knowing I willingly chose to throw blame His way breaks my heart, and it should. I want to feel it in my marrow. I do not want to forget how bad it feels. I want to remember, so that I will not likely repeat it.
In the midst of my sorrow, God came again to whisper to my heart, words of comfort. The first from Proverbs 3:11, "My daughter (son), do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves as a father, the daughter (son) he delights in." The second in Hebrews 12:5b-6, "My daughter (son), do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a daughter (son)." Now, I need it to be clear that I did not go looking for those verses. God literally, led me to them. He knows exactly what we need, when we need it.
My tendency has always been to give up if I blow it. Not anymore. I have too deep a relationship with my Father to give up now. He has walked with me and talked with me so intimately, that I dare not give up this good fight of faith. It is definitely a fight, but one worth fighting. Peter sorrowed over his denial of Christ, but he did not quit. In John 21:15-17, we find the conversation when Jesus asked Peter three times, "Simon, son of John, do you truly love me?" Each time Peter responded, "Yes, Lord, You know that I love you." After each postive response Jesus told him to "Feed my lambs, take care of my sheep and the third time, Feed my sheep." Peter did just that. In Acts chapter 2, we can read the account of Peter addressing the crowd at Pentecost after the Holy Spirit had come.
I am not sure what is ahead for me, but I know that God has spoken some promises to my heart. He will do exactly what He has said He will do. In His time and in His way. My prayer is that I will be mindful of my own tendency to doubt and lean all the closer to my Savior's side as I walk this difficult path. Deliverence is on it's way. He told me so!