“And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.’ And he said unto him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison and unto death.’ And he said, ‘I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.'” –Luke 22:31-34
This passage caught my attention tonight because it is exactly where I am at. After a period in the “desert”, during which I sought counsel and sought God, I began to move into a time of growth and intimacy with God. I began to set aside time with Him each day to pray, read His Word, worship to praise music. I noticed after a time that I was not filling up my day with the things that used to take up so much of my time and kept me from living worthy of the calling to which I was called. But how small was my faithfulness! It was only several weeks before I let in the “small foxes” and began to decline again. On those days where the Lord was so present in my heart and mind and my attitude and actions were evidences of it, I did not imagine turning away from my Savior to embrace my old ways once again, just as Peter did not imagine it conceivable that he could leave His Teacher for one minute, not even under penalty of death. Yet Christ’s prediction came true and Peter was humbled, as I have been.
But oh what grace is found in the love of Christ! Even in the foreknowledge that Peter would fall, Jesus prayed for Him that his faith would not fail, that even after being shamed and guilt-ridden over his denial of the Lord, he would return and grow in strength and character. “And when thou art converted,” another version reads, “And when you have turned back”. Such grace! God requires one thing for us to be of use to Him, that we repent. Once we do, we are immediately forgiven and shown our purpose. What a blessing to have a purpose and a calling!
So today, if you are struggling with guilt or conviction, DO NOT wallow there. Repent and move forward! God can still use you! And He always loves you!