In December I decided to commit to reading the bible in a year. While I have friends that do this annually, it has never been a desire of my heart. Generally I pray for direction, open my bible, and read. Around Christmas one of my friends was interested in following a book that outlines a year-long study plan for women. We didn’t buy the book but did find that there was a Facebook offering that included both the daily readings and discussion forum and decided to give it a go.
As always HE is meeting me with just what I need. We started our study in Genesis. In Genesis 12 I was drawn to the story of Abram and Sarai as they step out of faith and into fear with the words “she’s my sister.” Sarai is made part of the pharaoh’s court of ladies; remains untouched, and is rescued by God and returned to Abram unharmed. The lesson remains unlearned and in Genesis 20 we see the Abram and Sarai, renamed by God as Abraham and Sarah again step into fear, “she’s my sister… he’s my brother.” Another king, another court of ladies, the same God that was and is and is to come, intervenes again and Sarah is left undefiled.
From Genesis we moved on to Matthew where I was overcome by my encounters with Peter and the rollercoaster of faith and feelings that mark this period of his life. In Matthew 14 he experiences what it is to walk on water, to sink, and to be raised and steadied by the hand of Jesus. In Matthew 16:18 Peter hears Jesus say, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.” Just a little while later, in Matthew 16:23, Peter hears, “Get behind me Satan! You are a hindrance to me for you are not setting your mind on the things of God but on the things of man.”
This consistent truth that my weakness, flaws, and sinfulness are never too much for my loving Savior brings me peace beyond measure. Jesus isn’t sitting on the sidelines, biting HIS nails, wondering whether faith or feelings will rule in my life at any given moment. HE knows when I will be a rock and when I will be a stumbling block. HE knows how many times HE will need to bring the test around before I pass it; and HE is never undone by the myriad of ways I fail.
My thoughts have been on Peter; and I find myself wondering how long after Jesus resurrection and Peter’s reconciliation did it take for the sound of a rooster in the morning to go from a painful reminder of his denials to a sweet celebration of healing restoration. I am choosing to live intentionally, knowing that I will fail, sin, and fall short. Remembering that as 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, HE is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I am going to prayerfully seek to make this the year I trust HIS word, accept that my repentance guarantees HIS forgiveness so that I can live to serve without carrying the weight of burdens that HE has removed.