One morning while we waited for breakfast, Stan asked me, “Have you ever told God that something He wanted to do wasn’t going to happen?”
“I’m not sure,” I replied. “Why do you ask?”
“I was reading in Matthew’s gospel earlier this morning,” Stan replied, “and I saw something like that from the apostle Peter that clearly reflects too much of my personal experience.”
“How so?” I asked. “What was going on with Peter?”
“Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem,” Stan said. “Peter and some of the disciples were with Him.”
“Is that when Jesus was on the way to the cross?” I asked.
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And at one point, Jesus was telling the disciples what was going to happen to Him when they got to Jerusalem, including that He was going to be killed. That’s when it happened.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“It seems that Peter didn’t really listen to or understand all that Jesus had to say, but he rebuked Jesus, telling Him that what He just said wasn’t going to happen.”
“Rebuked Jesus?” I said. “That doesn’t seem like a real good idea.”
“I think you’re right about that,” Stan replied, “and I also think that it’s not a real good idea to interrupt God when He’s in the middle of saying something, especially if the interruption is to tell Him, ‘It’s not going to happen’!”
“Have you ever done that?” I asked.
“You just as well ask me if I have ever taken a breath,” Stan responded with a smile. “Many times before I finally came to faith, I told God I didn’t believe and that coming to faith simply wasn’t going to happen, but then I was opened to truly see what God had in mind. Just like Peter.”
“Just like Peter? How?”
“Peter didn’t see the whole picture of why Jesus was going to Jerusalem and the cross,” Stan replied. “Later he did see and he became a pillar of the early church who still has an impact today.”
Continuing, he added, “I didn’t see the picture of what God wanted to do in my life, but I finally did and I told Him to go ahead and do whatever He wanted in and through me. I stopped telling Him what was and what was not going to happen, but I surrendered to whatever He wanted.”
“That sounds kind of like the third step of being a disciple,” I said. “The step of following wherever, however, and whenever.”
“Sounds right to me,” Stan replied with a smile. “And I can only do that when I stop telling God what is and what is not going to happen!”
Bible verses to consider:
From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” Matthew 16:21-22.
And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. Mark 8:32.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of the cross of Christ so that all who believe will spend eternity in your presence. Thank you, too, for bringing me to that truth so I stopped rebuking you and telling you I was not going to come to believe. I confess that too often I still tell you that certain things are not going to happen. Please forgive the foolishness of trying to tell you anything about what you can and cannot do, along with what will and what will not happen. And please help me in following every step of your lead so I am totally surrendered to all you want to do in and through me for you and for your kingdom. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you stopped telling God that you are not going to come to faith so that you now know you will spend eternity in His presence when it is time? If no, why? If you are a Christian, how are you doing with telling God what is and what is not going to happen while He keeps you on this side of eternity? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense the need for change in how you are surrendered to whatever God has for you to be and to do, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?