THE DANGER OF PONDERING
“When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
If I could sum up my life in my early years of walking with the Lord, the one word it would sit firmly as is ‘contradiction.’ The entirety of every one of my important relationships has exploded with contradiction. Saying one thing but doing another. Going back on their word and never coming to pass with it. Flooding out words they never meant from their mouth simply because it sounded good. Lovers, friends, family too.
Maybe it’s because we’re human. I don’t know all the answers but I have learned that people will hurt us. And there isn’t a thing that we can do about it. I use to think that not being able to give practical advice in hard circumstances was just me being ‘too Christian.’ But really, the only thing that keeps me sane is reliance on God. With all that goes on in life I shrink at the thought of being unaware of a God who is constant. Because with Him, He stomps on contradiction and He uplifts consistency.
If you have followed along with me me then you know generally, I try to keep the overly spiritual talk out of my blogs because I don’t believe that you have to always pump up spirituality for people to know you love the Lord. I am a huge fan of practicality and I love relevancy in topics of life. But when it comes to a day by day basis, knowing God is the one thing that keeps me going. He’s the one thing that has proved himself true, even when it’s been a billion years later than what I wanted. When He speaks, it sits well within my soul. Because it’s always honest.
I look at it like this. In our life we’re given this canvas and overtime we proudly paint what we want our life to look like on it. And when we let someone close to us, we freely give them the brush. And more often than most, they don’t choose to paint on it until heartache. So here we are carrying around our canvas of what we have made for ourselves and what other people have put on us – and then there’s God. Up there with our canvas that He has freshly painted for us. And the funny thing is, He’s just chilling and patiently waiting for us to ask for an exchange that He’s always faithful to give.
I use to think that I was okay with just slipping into church here and there when I felt down. I had the mindset that life in and of itself was just contradicting, no way around it. I would see these people who’s lives revolved around God and who always seemed to be happy and it would make me cringe. Because I didn’t get it. But now I understand that just because those people always seemed happy – didn’t mean that they were happy. Rather, I have experienced for myself that I am so human. So so so human and I am not happy all the time. Some days, it would be easy to trip back up in my old habits and call it a quits. Some days, I say things way too quickly that should not have been said. Sometimes, everything that’s important to me falls to pieces and I’m left sitting in silence. Sometimes, really human things happen.
In spite of all that, I can have my head lifted up because I know a God who gets me. I know a God who is getting ready to hand me a new canvas with His personal painting on it. Who doesn’t mind the dozen of scuffed up canvases I’ve been carrying. The brilliant thing about God – is that He beautifully floods us with certainty that we could never find anywhere else. And seeking that everyday? It pulls everything into perspective for our really human life. It was one of Peter’s sweetest proclamations – out of a passionate heart and of an authentic love. There was no one else who could show him the right way.
When Jesus looked at Peter and asked if he wanted to walk away too, his response spoke, “You are my God. On the mountain and in the valley. You were the God at the beginning and you are the God at the end. You are where every hungry soul finds a meal. Where every tired soul finds a place of rest. There isn’t any other than you. In you there is grace and direction. In you there is security from every enemy. Who else is there other than you?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Was Peter perfect? Ha. No! But he had his eyes set unto what mattered to him. He had his heart in alignment with the heart of God. He got up when he fell down. He spent time with Jesus. Peter understood that the love of God is what frees us from sin not what frees us to sin. He spent time with Jesus to know the very of heart of God which is why he knew he could go back to the old relationships. He knew he could back to the self doubt. He could go back to the normality of his life, to the parties, to the unhealthy habits. He could watch as EVERYONE was walking away. Even when these people were probably his friends and when it made sense to walk away with them, too. His response set the standard for Christianity today.
Peter knew the heart of God and so he chose to remain planted in what he knew what true. He didn’t leave room to ponder. He didn’t leave room to allow his mind and his own human logic to make a decision for him. When a life altering question was asked to Peter with every set of eyes watching him, he didn’t have to go off and pray about what was the right choice. He was rooted in the truth of who Jesus was and who he was in Jesus. He knew why he believed what he believed. Therefor when the question was asked, “Do you want to walk away, too?” He knew without a shadow of a doubt who Jesus was and where he stood.
And when life hits us with weary hands and heavy hearts… I hope our heart repeats the same words he did. “Where else would I go?” In our weakest moments I hope we still look at Jesus and with tear filled eyes choose to stand with Him knowing full well there is absolutely no place else we would rather be.