And he went outside and wept bitterly. – Luke 22:62
I would think that Peter would say the worst thing he ever did was deny Jesus three times. When a grown man as tough as him is weeping bitterly, that says a lot. We know from reading on that he thought his relationship with Jesus was over. When the three ladies went to visit the tomb of Jesus and found it empty, the angel said, “Go tell the disciples, and Peter.” The angel knew that Peter thought it was over for Him. It had to ignite a small spark in Peter’s heart to know that he was mentioned specifically by name.
Here is what I’ve been pondering with all this: If you could erase the most hurtful things you’ve ever done, or even the most painful things you’ve ever experienced, would you do it? Looking back, I’ve done terrible things that I assumed would separate me from God. The demons jump in so quickly with their voices, “It’s over for you . . . you’ve gone too far.” Yet, on the other side of these poor choices is grace, forgiveness, and love that is absolutely impossible to experience outside of a relationship with God Himself.
I have been in a really dark fog for the past several months. I really don’t know when or how it started, but I know that I allowed the darkness to descend upon me. It seemed to strip all desire to do the things that I do for Jesus. I didn’t want to write, didn’t want to preach, didn’t want to study, and didn’t even want to pray. The only saving grace was that I didn’t want to let go of Him. I would take long walks and just imagine being in His presence. It was actually nice to just be with Him and not really have to say anything.
To make a really long story short, a couple of weeks ago, the dark fog just lifted. It is amazing the level of darkness we will allow as long as it slowly gets darker and darker. When it lifted, I could see myself holding on to Jesus for dear life. For maybe the first time in my life, I was holding on to Him and only Him. I had no trust whatsoever in my own goodness or my own religious activities.
Peter had to feel a bit like I did. When the performance aspect of his religion was taken away from him, he thought it was over. I can’t imagine the darkness and despair that he was in. I feel so sorry for him because he honestly thought his savior was dead and couldn’t speak to him anymore. I have the privilege of knowing Jesus came back to life and restored Peter fully. I know that Jesus never once said a single negative word about what he did. He never made him feel the least bit guilty. He simply asked, “Do you love me?”
Why should I think that He would treat me differently?
Lord, you know that I love you. Thank you for every trial and temptation that we go through that forces us to hold on to you and only you for dear life. The light on the other side of the darkness is so bright and so wonderful. Help me never take my eyes off of you and help me never let go of your hand. Most of all help me never be convinced that you have taken your eyes off of me and have stopped reaching out for me. You are amazing, God.