"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Hugged by nail pierced hands

My goodness, I miss Tina so much some times. Its hard to believe that we've been apart for over 4 months, yet I still miss her so much. Some things in life are really hard to understand. I think its pretty clear that Tina and I had to break up in order to put Christ first, but the thing I don't understand is why does it have to hurt so bad? Why do I still struggle at putting Christ first. For far to long, I have been seeking my own ways of escaping my hurt, but they only bring me deeper into the pit of despair. Like the prodigal son, I realize that I must run back to my Father. This is what blows me away, as I run towards him, my feet pounding the dust, tired and weary, through the dirty and knotted hair that hangs draping over my eyes, I see him running towards me.

20"So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. --Luke 15:20

Why would he run to me, I am supposed to be running to him, pleading for mercy. Instead he runs to me, and hugs me, his nail- scarred hands pulling me close. I don't understand how God could ever love me that much, but though I don't understand it, I am drawn to it. I want to serve my Lord. Though I so often fail, I will get up again, brush the dirt away and follow him.

Once Peter betrayed Jesus, his Lord, while he hung on the cross. Like Peter, We too have betrayed Christ. Though Jesus has already appeared to him and the other disciples twice, it was a morning that Peter was out fishing with some of the other disciples that Peter truly was changed by Christ. I don't know what it was that drew Peter out to fish that morning, A speaker at school thought maybe he was returning to his old career of being a fisherman once again. Perhaps he thought that since he had failed at being Christ's Fisher of Men, maybe he could at least reel in a few fish. Since he had betrayed Christ, three times no less, maybe he thought he wasn't good enough for Jesus' service anymore. I don't know, but this I do: Jesus thought differently. He stood on the beach of Galilee that morning and looked out on a boat in the distance filled with his exhausted disciples.

5He called out, "Friends, have you caught any fish?"
"No," they replied.
6Then he said, "Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you'll get plenty of fish!" So they did, and they couldn't draw in the net because there were so many fish in it.
7Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and swam ashore. 8The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only out about three hundred feet.[
c] 9When they got there, they saw that a charcoal fire was burning and fish were frying over it, and there was bread.
10"Bring some of the fish you've just caught," Jesus said. 11So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn't torn.
12"Now come and have some breakfast!" Jesus said. And no one dared ask him if he really was the Lord because they were sure of it. 13Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish.--
John 21:5-13

Then as they had ate there fill of bread and fish and sat around the fire enjoying the company of their friend and their Lord as they had not long ago, Jesus asked Peter a question...

15After breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," Peter replied, "you know I love you."
"Then feed my lambs," Jesus told him.
16Jesus repeated the question: "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
"Yes, Lord," Peter said, "you know I love you."
"Then take care of my sheep," Jesus said.
17Once more he asked him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was grieved that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, "Lord, you know everything. You know I love you."
Jesus said, "Then feed my sheep.--
John 21:15-17

The reason that I give this passage is that Peter just like you and I, like the prodigal son, had blown it. He retreated back to his familiar and comfortable life of fishing, thinking that I am no longer good enough for Christ. But that is when Christ gave him his mission. "Feed my sheep." The truth is that no mater what we've done, what road we've traveled, what we've been through, Jesus wants us back. In times of hardship, its easy to run in the wrong direction. In Peter's tough spot, he denied Christ. My tough situation here is not being able to call the girl I love my own any longer, and like Peter, I have denied Christ with my lifestyle. I have pursued false comforts from the pain separate from his true comfort. I have ignored his voice and I have lived for myself. But like Peter, Christ is telling me, "feed my sheep" and like the Prodigal son, God is running to me with open arms.

Peter lived a pretty rough life from that point on. He suffered for the sake of Christ. The thing is, he rejoiced in his suffering, and never denied his lord again. Our lives will be rough as well, that's just the nature of living. We still must rejoice in the pain, stop worrying what the future has in store, and put our trust in the one who knows us better than we do. Run to him as he runs to you.

I'm not above trying to understand, I'm not above trying to take your hand, I'm not above, I'm not above....You know me better than I do, it's better if you lead the way!--Further Seems Forever (the best band ever)

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