“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”– John 16: 33
Why is it that as circumstances worsen, our faith often falters? Rather than believing that God remains in control – no matter how good or bad things appear – we let life’s challenges slowly overshadow our faith in God. Eventually, fear can replace our faith entirely. You might be experiencing this right now as you take stock of just how much has changed in the past few weeks of COVID-19: our daily routines, our jobs, our finances. When life changes overnight, our faith can be shaken … but it doesn’t have to crumble.
Peter understood this. In fact, Peter lived this.
For three years, Peter followed Jesus as one of His inner circle – one of the 12 disciples. When it came to Jesus’ earthly ministry, Peter saw it all: miraculous healings, powerful teaching, and provocative statements. Like most of Jesus’ followers, Peter assumed that Jesus was going to redeem the children of Israel as the long-awaited King of the Jews. So, you can imagine his shock when Jesus was arrested and sentenced to death on the cross. This wasn’t how the story was supposed to go – at least not according to Peter. Talk about a huge gap between expectations and current circumstances.
After Jesus’ arrest, the disciples were so overcome by fear that they fled (Mark 14:50). How could things have gotten so far off course? Things were so bad that even Peter, called the “rock” by Jesus (Mark 3:16), crumbled – as three times he denied any association with Him (Matthew 26: 69-75).
When life’s circumstances didn’t live up to expectations, Jesus’ closest followers lost hope and gave into fear. Yet, the story wasn’t over. Not only did Jesus overcome death on the cross through His resurrection, but He cared enough to specifically redeem His relationship with Peter (John 21:15-17).
The lesson for us in Peter’s story is that life’s circumstances do not determine God’s goodness. Even when hope seems lost and fears rush in, our faith need not falter. Why? Because even when the story appeared over, God had other plans.
Have current events shaken your faith? As we near Easter Sunday, may the story of God’s ultimate victory, fill you anew with hope that no matter life’s circumstances, God is still good. He is trustworthy because Jesus is risen and that makes all the difference!