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So, Now What?

"I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you" (Jn. 21:3).

 

The disciples had just experienced the most draining week of their lives. It started out when Jesus told them that He was going to Jerusalem to die. What was that all about?Then, they walked into Jerusalem next to Jesus who was riding on a colt, a donkey’s baby. Should have been a horse, isn’t He going to be our new King? The people were shouting, “Hosanna to the Lord!” How cool was that! Here comes the king.


They also later watched Jesus overthrow tables in the Temple with its money changers ... He sure showed them a thing or two. Then to top it off, the disciples had an incredible evening of fellowship with Jesus, the Last Supper, and Jesus even surprised them by washing their feet. However, he did share some news with them that they weren’t expecting at all — that someone was going to betray him.

Each of the disciples examined their hearts that night. Peter especially was overwhelmed when Jesus shared that this “Rock” of faith himself would consequently deny Jesus three times. That can’t be, Peter would never do such a thing as that! Then, Jesus desired some company as he went into the Garden to pray. Ok, praying is great, but they were all pretty tired.


As we know, a lot happened that week and now, after the crucifixion, their friend, teacher, mentor, Lord, and their Savior was gone. Now what?

They knew He wasn’t dead because they had seen him RAISED. But now, everything had changed – it would be different. Jesus was not physically going to be around to laugh with, to hang out with on long walks, to do miracles, or to teach.


Can you imagine what Peter was feeling?


Peter had been on a type of “mountain high” one might say. He had experienced the Transfiguration (only three guys were chosen to experience that revelation). He was confident enough and ready enough to take on the world with Jesus at his side, but then, Peter had just experienced a week that he’d never forget.

Peter wasn’t going to allow Jesus to wash his feet, but instead, Jesus put him in his place, “Then you’ll have no part of me.” Peter says later, “Lord, where are you going? I want to go, too. I will lay down my life for you.” Oops, well, Peter that’s great, but I hate to tell you that you will deny me three times before the rooster crows.


Jesus also took Peter, James, and John deeper into the garden to be his prayer warriors at his greatest time of need. Of course, even with their sincere desire to be with Jesus and to support him in this moment, pure exhaustion crept in and overwhelmed them … along with its inherent sense of failure.


Can you imagine what thoughts ran through Peter’s mind as the disciples sat behind locked doors? Surely, he replayed the events of the last three years and contrasted it with Jesus’s final week. What happens now?

How do you move on? Everything seems perfect in life, but then someone moves away or someone dies or sometimes, life just changes. Maybe the feeling of failure holds you down. What was Peter thinking at this time? I can make a guess as to his thoughts, “Well, maybe I’m not good enough to do what Jesus has asked me to do. I’ll probably just fail again. I know what, I’ll go back to fishing —my dad still owns the business. I’ll just go back and fish, it’s what I did best. It’s comfortable, it’s home.”


However, the truth is (as someone once said): If God has called you to serve, you will never be happy with anything else.


We all have been here at one time or another. We screw up; we fail, and sometimes, we wonder if someone else could do a better job. Some of our reasoning might include: I’m not walking with God in the manner that I should be walking with him. Let me get my act together, and then I’ll be more fit to serve God. I have a past that I need to clean up. But God … (fill in the blank).

Thankfully, God loves us too much to leave us where we are. Jesus reinstated Peter. He gave Peter back his dignity, forgave Peter, and he renewed Peter’s charge “to get back to work.” Somehow, I honestly believe that Peter, on that day, had a new hope and a new vision, and with the Spirit’s guidance, he helped to change the world.


Likewise, we are to do the same. Once we recognize and profess Jesus as Savior, we don’t have to look back (or even go back) unless he tells us to do so. He has a new plan for our lives, and we need to keep moving forward.


So, what now? Don’t go back to what’s comfortable, but ask God, “What’s next?”


If you’ve lost a relationship, God can bring you into a new relationship. If you have to make an uncomfortable move in life, God can help you to find a new church, new friends, new serving opportunities, and a new “fresh” start. If you don’t feel like you can take the lead in all of these changes then maybe God is calling you to serve – to be a faithful servant.


As we all discover at stages throughout life, change isn’t easy, but sometimes, it is necessary. Trust God and see what happens.



Prayer:


Lord Jesus, I know that I can trust you with my life both today and also in my future “tomorrow.” Lead me on the path that you have prepared for me. May I not push back or abandoned this journey of faith. Amen.



 

Vicki Conley



First Baptist Church of Delta, Colo.

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