You won’t find a more graphic example of leaving a friend high and dry.

My heart breaks when I read the account of how Peter denied Jesus. The scripture is in Luke and you can read the whole thing here if you want (Luke 22: 54-62). The back story goes that before Jesus was arrested Peter swore he would never abandon him. I imagine Jesus did that shoulder shrug that we all do when we know someone’s written a check they can’t ever cover and told Peter he would deny him not once or twice but three times. The account of just how this denial went is in the verses above. Peter denies Jesus to a servant girl, then twice to members of the crowd that had gathered. After the third lie Jesus looked straight at Peter and Peter remembered his promise. The scripture says Peter went outside and wept bitterly. It’s a gut-wrenching story but I get it. I’ve been there. I’ve been at that fork in the road that critical juncture where you either do or don’t. As Yoda said, “Do or not do, there is no try”. Unfortunately, too often, we don’t. No wonder Peter wept.

Here was his friend, his mentor, the one who asked him, a fisherman, to come with him to follow and be a part of the most extraordinary thing that ever happened here on earth and he blew it. He wimped out. And this was so not a part of Peter’s character. In fact, it was just the opposite. It was Peter after all who lopped off the ear of the high priest’s servant when they came and arrested Jesus. Peter would eventually be the one who Jesus called the rock but in this instance, in these moments, he was anything but steady. He failed. He was not a fighter. I can only imagine the anguish and guilt he must have felt looking into the eyes of his Lord and friend but again, I’ve been there.

I’ve been there when I wouldn’t raise my voice to stand up to the crowd and it wasn’t even life or death (which it very well could have been for Peter). I’ve been there when someone who believed in me, who chose me, who mentored me; saw that I wasn’t up to the task. It hurts. It hurts being that weak. It hurts being that helpless but it’s at that precise moment where we are saved by grace. See, Peter didn’t ultimately crawl off and pout over his failure. No, that fighting spirit that he possessed would bubble up in fantastic ways.

Peter would take his shame, his guilt, his failure and his anguish and turn it into the leadership needed after Jesus was gone. Truly his weakness made him strong. His failure drove him, I’m sure, to tell everyone and lead the other disciples into the face of something that would end some of their lives and land others in prison. It would not be easy but the way he came through after such an epic fail should give all of us hope. No matter where we’ve been, what we’ve done or who we’ve disappointed our Savior is ready and willing to use us for his purpose. So don’t cry. Buck up buttercup. There’s work to be done!

When was the last time that you failed? I mean really blew it? Was there someone powerful and gracious enough to pick you up, pull you out of the muck and believe in you again, maybe even call you a “rock”? The thing is there is someone out there that is willing and able to do that for all of us. If you know someone that needs to hear that assurance, I hope you’ll share this with them.

I blog every week about life experiences and lessons, some of them from the bible and some not. If you’d like to read more, click here to go to my blog’s home page. If you like what you read you can subscribe for free. Subscribing is easy and means you will get an email on Saturdays with links to that week’s posts. You can do that by clicking this. And please don’t worry about getting a bunch of junk. I never sell or share emails.