Me: Hi Prodigal, nice castle!
Prodigal: Yes, I am ruler of this castle!
Me: Well, I hope you rule your kingdom well and let me give you some encouragment in that area.
Prodigal: What kind of suggestions do you have?
This is describing Peter, in the book Hope Again by Charles Swindoll
Once Peter decided to follow Christ, there was no turning back. As time passed, he became all the more committed to the Master, a devoted and stubborn-minded disciple whose loyalty knew no bounds.
Utimately, however, his commitment was put to the test. Jesus had warned him that Satan was hot on his heels, working overtime to trip him up. But Peter was unmoved. His response? “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” (Luke 22:34). Jesus didn’t buy it. He answered, “Peter, the cock will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me” (Luke 22:34) Though that prediction must have stung, Peter pushed it aside….self-assured and overly confident that it would never happen.
Wrong. That very night, Jesus’ words turned to reality. The loyal, strong-hearted, courageous Peter failed his Lord. Deliberately and openly he denied that he was one of the Twelve. Not once or twice but three times, back to back, he turned on the One who had loved him enough to warn him.
No longer loyal and strong, far from courageous and committed, the man was suddenly reduced to heaving sobs. What guilt he bore! How ashamed he felt! Words cannot adequately portray his brokenness. Emotionally, he plunged to rock bottom, caught in the grip of hopelessness; the effect was shattering. Every time he closed his eyes he could see the face of Jesus staring at him, as if asking, “How could you Peter? Why would you? That look. Those words. The man was haunted for days. The Savior’s subsequent death by crucifixion must have been like a nail driven into Peter’s heart.
Upon hearing of his Savior’s resurrection and also his Savior’s concern that he especially be given the message, Peter had hope beyond his failure. Because of that, he could go on.
And, not surprisingly, he would later be the one who would write the classic letter of hope to those who needed to hear it the most…those who were residing “as aliens, scattered” across the vast landscape of the Roman Empire (1 Peter 1:1)
Between his earlier failure and his writing this letter, Peter had been used of God as the catalyst in the formation of the early church. But having been broken and humiliated, his leadership was altogether different than it would have been without his failure. Now that he had been rescued by grace and restored by hope, he had no interest in playing “king of the mountain” by pushing people around. Rather, he became a servant-hearted shepherd of God’s flock.
See God’s plan now? He doesn’t need a leader of His people playing “king of the mountain”.
Praise God for brokeness and that He uses failure to mold us!
1 Peter 6-7
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.