After Failure: The Way Back

JesusPeterJesus knew Peter. He got him…deeply.

He understood the impetuous fisherman at an almost cellular level. He knew the man’s pride, temperament, strengths and weaknesses.

So it was no accident when He gave a message to the women outside the empty tomb and specifically asked them to make sure they told Peter.

He mentioned him by name…because He knew Peter might not believe it otherwise.

Peter had failed. Screwed up royally. His pride led him to a fall and the bitter aftermath was eating him alive.

Jesus knew Peter had to be shown the way back. Intimately. Individually. Intentionally.

So do we.

Failure is a common yet repulsive reality. We do it…we hate it.

Failure happens when we

  • Live cut off from our true purpose
  • Act apart from our deep convictions
  • Choose outside of our core values

Failure causes us to

  • Let go of our destiny
  • Throw away our dreams
  • Give up on our worth

Failure leaves us

  • Too wounded to try again
  • Too conflicted to believe again
  • Too sad to hope again

Jesus’ restoration of Peter offers tangible hope to those of us who experience the disillusionment, disappointment and defeat that are the bedfellows of abject failure. He gives us courage to get up instead of give up; to try again.

Peter’s recovery clearly demonstrates that:

  • Failure is painful but it is not fatal. Peter’s weeping repentance created rivers of God’s grace and renewal.
  • Failure makes you feel alone but you are not abandoned. Peter crashed alone (he followed Jesus at a distance by himself) but he was not forsaken in the end.
  • Failure has consequences but it does not have control. Jesus once predicted to Peter that he would be sifted like wheat, but he also promised a comeback.
  • Failure may be your experience but it is not your identity. Jesus used the name He had given–“Peter“, assuring Peter that He still saw him as a rock not a wimp.
  • Failure can be your reality but it is not your destiny. Jesus walked with Peter on the beach and renewed His call–you are still fit to “feed My sheep”.
  • Failure is a set-back but it is also a set-up. Peter stood up with the eleven on the Day of Pentecost fearlessly declaring the power of the risen Lord.

Failure only has the final word if we are unwilling to accept that God’s grace is bigger than any sin; God’s faithfulness stronger than every failure.

Jesus never defensively said, “I give up!” He defiantly shouted, “It is finished!”

That is the last word on failure.

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