Friday, November 13, 2009

When nothing goes like you thought it would


We all have a dream - an ideal - an expected path our life will take.

What happens when that falls apart? The young beautiful bride, a dancer, gets a debilitating disease that renders her immobile, AND in severe pain? The young couple, dreaming of kids and the "white picket fence" who can't have kids? The years go by. The tears. The pleadings. But nothing changes. The businessman - smart, debonair, skilled - whose business crumbles and 11 years go down the drain?

The disciples had an expectation. They had found the Messiah. The miracles. The teachings. He was going to deliver Israel from the cruel Roman occupation.

Then the wheels fell off the wagon.

41 -44 "He pulled away from them about a stone's throw, knelt down, and prayed, "Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?" At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face.
45 -46He got up from prayer, went back to the disciples and found them asleep, drugged by grief. He said, "What business do you have sleeping? Get up. Pray so you won't give in to temptation."
47 -48No sooner were the words out of his mouth than a crowd showed up, Judas, the one from the Twelve, in the lead. He came right up to Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said, "Judas, you would betray the Son of Man with a kiss?"

No! No! No! This can't be happening. Peter grabs the sword they had brought and takes a swing at the head of the first guy he can see. The guy pulls his head to one side - but still loses an ear.

49 -50 "When those with him saw what was happening, they said, "Master, shall we fight?" One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest's servant and cut off his right ear.
51Jesus said, "Let them be. Even in this." Then, touching the servant's ear, he healed him.
52 -53Jesus spoke to those who had come—high priests, Temple police, religion leaders: "What is this, jumping me with swords and clubs as if I were a dangerous criminal? Day after day I've been with you in the Temple and you've not so much as lifted a hand against me. But do it your way—it's a dark night, a dark hour."

54 -56Arresting Jesus, they marched him off and took him into the house of the Chief Priest. Peter followed, but at a safe distance."

Can you imagine the horror? The confusion? I think Peter had enough faith to believe that Jesus would do something spectacular to defend himself. But it never happened...

"In the middle of the courtyard some people had started a fire and were sitting around it, trying to keep warm. One of the serving maids sitting at the fire noticed him, then took a second look and said, "This man was with him!"
57He denied it, "Woman, I don't even know him."
58A short time later, someone else noticed him and said, "You're one of them."
But Peter denied it: "Man, I am not."
59About an hour later, someone else spoke up, really adamant: "He's got to have been with him! He's got 'Galilean' written all over him."
60 -62Peter said, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about." At that very moment, the last word hardly off his lips, a rooster crowed. Just then, the Master turned and looked at Peter. Peter remembered what the Master had said to him: "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." He went out and cried and cried and cried."

Betrayal. Confusion. Horror. Now he himself had denied the Lord.

The lowest point of Peter's life!

Was it all over for Peter? He thought so. Remember that, next time you are in the depths of the situation where nothing goes like you thought it would.

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