For the love…

It’s all about Peter this spring. Peter, the hot headed follower of Jesus. The one who chopped off a guys ear. Jesus put it back on FYI and I have some questions about what that looked like in real time…no…slo-mo!

I would really like to see that in slo-mo.

I have expectations for heaven and one of them is slo-mo video recaps. It’s going to be so much better than the best tiktoks, right?!

So, Peter. I get Peter’s personality at times. I want quick fixes, zaps that would put everything to rights. Maybe not lightening but that would be cool sometimes. Expedient.

Peter got it wrong a lot with Jesus and Jesus doesn’t make sense to me sometimes either. He goes against all we think should be true about life and our world sometimes.

Like suffering, that makes no sense to me at all sometimes. The concept of suffering having meaning and experiencing joy in suffering just really stumps me. I avoid suffering unnecessarily. If I can be comfortable, I choose that path. Peter was suffering avoidant, too, and Jesus really called him out on that.

I mean really called him out! Jesus used the word Satan as I recall.

In 1 Peter, though, there’s a real change. Peter, the quick-fix, suffering avoidant snob is a different man. Now he’s telling Christians that were driven from their homes to rest secure as they suffer for their faith.

Old Peter wanted to call down lightening to resolve problems. New Peter is saying wait, hope, let suffering do its work removing the bloat and impurities from our lives.

Contrary to the positivity all around us today–Peter owns the suffering they experience, we experience. It’s real. He owns that its hard. He acknowledges that we cannot afford to be passive in suffering but we must be sober and alert and it matters what we do when we suffer. But just thinking positive thoughts doesn’t make it go away.

And more surprising, all this suffering and waiting and hoping results in something otherworldly–greater love. When we submit to the trials and the suffering, the goal is not that we become more with-it, disciplined, and productive people.

Peter says we become more sincere lovers of other people.

So, if you, like me, are chaffing under the weight of the things that are not right, under the displacement we feel in the world, Peter has got a lot to say to you too.

Old Peter is pretty fun to read about but new Peter. New Peter is the one I want to spend time with. He’s the one that gives the true filling of courage for hard times.

He has lived it. He loves. He became the shepherd Jesus charged him to become when Peter was coming out of his greatest failure.

So, as we live it too. As we face all our avoidant, quick-fix tendencies and live under our circumstances with that living hope inheritance with Jesus, we will be changed too.

And we will love. And won’t the world be better for it? And won’t Jesus shine?

My Times and His Hands

After a week of holiday and travel topped off by a flu-sickened kid, we stayed home for church Sunday. Our kids love church at home not because we do anything awesome. No crafts, no games, no songs, just time.

Our littlest one is the sickie. He snored under a blanket clutching his tiger. Our middle perused through his comic book- styled Bible. The oldest paid attention to the sermon. We listened to Alistair Begg while my husband and I lounged around nursing a second cup of coffee.

My Times are in Your Hands was the theme. I’d heard it before and remembered it. Any time or situation is a good time to listen to that sermon by Alistair Begg, by the way. My times are in His hands. I always need to know it.

I’ll tell you this past year the worst moments were when I forgot. The Sunday sermon reminded me again. Lives are long. Stories are longer. God’s story is the longest of all.

Alistair illuminated the story of Joseph for us. What a story. My middle son’s eyes got wide when he heard that some guys sold their brother into slavery. I’m sure it gave him ideas. It’s good to cover these things young and the Bible covers quite a bit. No, you cannot sell your brother into slavery. But, if you do, God can still bring good out of it. Dang. I really wanted the answer to be just No! Don’t do it! 

Most of the time I don’t know why or for what purpose things happen the way they do. Oh sure, I can guess and I do try to guess. Much is said about purpose in the Bible. There are many benefits to suffering. I learn perseverance in trials. I learn joy through and in pain. I learn to give thanks in everything. But those things are more like keeping my blinders on and plowing my row. Most often I don’t see the bigger picture, I just take the next step trusting I’m on the right row.

A few days ago we sat in a group with many others preparing to go overseas to our former home. Someone mentioned that 7 years ago they sat in my home and that’s when they began to see themselves overseas. 7 years ago. That day I’m sure I changed diapers and stressed a little and scrambled and hurried like most young moms do when hosting a party. I really don’t think I did much but isn’t that the beauty?

Now these remind me that God was at work 7 years ago. I got to play a very small part and it was enough. I don’t know what part I play today or what part I played yesterday and I may never know. My times are in His hands and the Lord is always at work.

Joseph got a peek at God’s purposes years and years down the road. Somehow, his heart was still soft enough to receive the bigger picture God worked through his pain. What a gift.

My times are in His hands so He knows I’m at home and who knows but that in a few years or decades or in heaven I might see a glimpse of what He is working out today in my American apartment.

I tell you, that is freeing on a day like today when I feel cooped up inside with a 5-year-old who wants 4 more identical tiger lovies for Christmas. He cried for a while about that. I’m trying to manage expectations and his lovie is now a rare collector’s item, translated, expen$ive.

My times are in His hands. I can rest.

To listen to the sermon, follow this link: