Who would it be if you had to choose a man from the Bible that resembled you? I’d go with Peter in short order. Maybe it’s because I can relate to Peter’s apparent ADHD and ability to speak before he thought things through. While there is truth to that similarity, the more significant parallel between us would be the pendulum swing between Peter’s strong faith and his sometimes stronger fear which he gave into. I get that.

When people drum up illustrations of strong faith, they often highlight the occasion when Peter stepped out of the boat to meet Jesus walking on the water. None of the other apostles dared that adventure. Then, however, things went south with Peter when he took his eyes off Jesus, focused on the waves around him, and began to sink. Peter started in faith, but his fear overpowered him leading to his failure.

The more significant lesson of faith, fear, and failure may have come from his denial of Jesus in Matthew 26:69-75. When Jesus spoke of the apostles denying him, Peter quickly spoke up with great faith, stating that he would never do such a thing. Many of us have made similar claims of solid faith. I know I have. Hours later, as Jesus faced torture and the cross, Peter looked around at probable persecution for him and began to lose faith. He then fell to failure three times because of fear by denying he even knew Jesus.

Thankfully we know the story of Peter did not end there. He refused to live in past failures. Jesus met him after the resurrection. In Acts chapter two, Peter rose to preach the first sermon of the Church, where 3,000 people found the grace of God and began to spread the hope of Jesus around the world. While Peter probably felt his life was over after he denied Christ, Jesus had another end in mind. The future of Peter was one of testifying for Christ, even to the point of death in martyrdom. Countless people found peace with God because of Peter’s faith, and the ripple effects of that belief touch us today. Yes, Peter blew it. But he repented his denial and turned his face toward Jesus, where his real story began.

The truth is that we have all failed more than once in our lives. But that does not have to be the end of our story. Winston Churchill once noted, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” I wonder if he ever thought about Peter. The question is not, are we going to fail? Instead, the question is, what will you do when failure comes?

Will you be honest enough to admit your failure, to own it, and then humbly give it to Jesus? Will you then allow Jesus to bury that failure? Will you cease looking back at it so that you can push the ball forward down the field? Will you also help others get back into the saddle after their failure? If so, then, like Peter, your best days are yet to come.

Jesus picked Peter back up again. Peter took the hand of Christ, and his life changed forever.

Jesus will do the same for you.


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