Entering the Story
Updated: Apr 19, 2021
This week’s blog post is a snippet from recent work on my book. I thought you might enjoy it as you prepare for Easter.
Somewhere in the middle of my own story, I realized I’d stepped out of the boat, and I was drowning. Or so I thought. I had been like Peter, eyes fixed on Jesus, sure if I stepped over the edge and onto that water, it would hold me. Of course it would hold me, if I was with him. And it did. But then, a wind. Or a sudden drenching. A wave catching, unexpected. Awareness of dark surroundings, black night, and all this water, deep abyss. I sink, sputter, utter, “Help!” I needed help. And he heard me. Of course. A hand pulling me up and pulling me close, and then. I'm back in the boat. With him.
I’ve been like Peter, too, the dark night after the garden of sleep. Saying I’ll die, faithful. And then, a lie. One, two, three. Afraid, and ashamed. The rooster crowing, and me knowing, and there he is, from the corner of my eye. Jesus. You are the Christ, the Son of the living God! Once professed, now denied, and there he is, looking straight at Peter, straight at me. What do I see?
And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” (Luke 22:61)
I would have expected rebuke. Or at least sorrow, for the awful knowing. But there it is. In his gaze. No denying, only love. Peter looks into the eyes, and “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32). Jesus prayed for Peter. Surely he prays for me, too.
And now it’s Peter again; I listen in. Fish and breakfast and resurrection. Jesus, asking his repeated question. Once, twice, three times he asks it. Do you love me Peter? The friend who denied looks again into love-pierced eyes, and dare he say it? Of course I love you.
Of course, I do.
Feed my sheep. Which is to say, get out there Peter, and strengthen those brothers, because this LOVE has saved you, and it is saving you, still.
One day he’d write a letter. I’d write a book. Entering his story as he’s entered mine.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-8)
I know, Peter. I know. Me, too.