who peter became.

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Three years ago I landed for the first time in Uganda. I remember those first steps onto African soil, I was beyond overwhelmed by the sights and the smells and the people with the accents I could not understand. The place that I thought I would love, suddenly was the place I wanted to run from.  I wanted to jump back on the next plane and head back to the comfort of home. I felt somewhat like Jonah must have, where turning and high tailing it was all that I wanted to do. I knew God had called me to Uganda, and I tried my hardest to trust that He was sovereign.  Being thousands of miles from home and choosing to trust God is, honestly, hard.

Life and all it’s chaos is always hard no matter where you are.  I stand here on American soil, blessed beyond belief, and still I struggle against God’s will.  God calls me out onto the water in the darkness, and in those moments I have to decided who I believe Him to be.  Those moments where fears throws my heart into panic, but I choose to trust.  I choose to walk on the waves in front of me, I choose to put my doubts on hold and meet Jesus on the water.  In those moments, I see who Jesus is, who I can be because of His grace.  In that place there is peace and uncertainty has been washed away by the One who is reaching out for me.  The darkness is washed away by the light and the storms are calmed by just knowing He is standing in front of me.  Unspeakable joy overflows from my soul, it’s in those moments that I know without a doubt that I am loved.

But then I look down into the waters and I realize where I am, and I want comfort.  I want dry land, I want a boat to take me to shore.  I allow the doubts and the fears and uncertainty to control me. Just like that, the waters over my head and I’m drowning.  I’m drowning like Peter as He allowed fear to take over his heart.  I’m longing for my Jesus to reach down and pull me from the darkness and into the storm, because I want to be anywhere but here. I want comfort, I want the known, and I want the certain.  I want Jesus, but I don’t want to have to trust Him that much.  I am the one of little faith.  The one hoping and praying that my mustard seed faith is truly enough.

I’m like Peter a lot these days, struggle to find my way back to the surface because I can’t swim in these waves. Chaos and worry that fills me and I long for the peace and joy that He offers.  I want to be courageous, but in these moments I am anything but that. I proclaim He’s the Son of God with my mouth, but then I turn around and fear controls me.  I deny Him.  I deny Him when my words and my actions are anything but good.  I deny Him when He whispers to go into the unknown and I am too afraid.  I deny Him when I forget to follow Him, and not make my own paths through life. He asks me if I love Him, I say I do.  But why am I too afraid to feed His sheep?  Why am I longing for comfort but He’s asking me to live an uncomfortable life?

How is it when God chooses to use us to further His kingdom, we continue to shy away?  When He says “this is your home” we assume that He will leave us stranded in a place we don’t speak the language. Why do we allow doubt to cloud who He is? When He tells us to walk on the water, and we attempt to but we become afraid and by our actions say “Christ, you are not enough to save me.” or “Christ, I am not good enough”. Our pride of failing gets in the way of seeing all the victories He has waiting for us.

I waited in Uganda, I waited to find out why God had brought me to the other side of the world for me to feel so afraid and so alone. Every morning as the panic of the unknown would settle into my heart I would open my journal and scribble “Jesus, you mean more to me.”.  As I began to focus my eyes upon the One standing on the waters in front of me, I began to see the beauty of where I was standing.  I saw the beauty in the red dirt roads that had pot holes and turned into a muddy mess every time it rained.  I saw the beauty in the endless skies and the hot African sun.  I saw the beauty in the people who found joy in the midst of poverty and their own storms.  But it was only when my eyes were fixed upon my Savior and I chose not to listen to my own fears that I saw the beauty in that little pearl of a country.

Jesus watched as the water swallowed Peter, He listened as the rooster crowed, but He still reached out for Him. He still loved Peter fiercely.  Jesus still looked at that broken man and saw everything He has in store for Him.  He saw the fact that Peter would teach grace long after He had departed the earth.  He saw Peter would be persecuted because of His name.  He saw that Peter in all his flaws would still be counted blameless because He had been redeemed.

I am always worried that I am not enough to fulfill all that Christ has called me to be. I am afraid that my heart is too much like Peter’s.  I want to be the one who walks onto the waves bold and confident, but that’s not me. I am quivering and falling apart.  I pray to God and then turn around and count off all the things that could go wrong.

But Peter didn’t stay the same.

Peter still doubted, he still was fearful, he was still Peter.  I think most days Peter must have woken like the rest of us, doubting his calling.  After betraying the Savior and failing to trust Jesus on the waters, how could a powerful God call him to teach His grace?  How could he be counted blameless?  Peter only knew grace because grace had been lavished upon him.

Right before the cross, Jesus came around to wash Peter’s feet, and Peter initially refused to allow the Messiah to wash his feet.  Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”  And then, then Peter responded- “Then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”. In that moment, Jesus only washed Peter’s feet. But then soon after, hanging broken on a cross,  he drowned Peter in grace and changed him for forever

Peter’s identity was no longer who he had been or who he was, but it was who God was.  God took his failures, taught him pure and selfless grace, and then sent him out to teach it.

I will never measure up.

But when I choose to live with my identity fully surrender to Christ, grace is extended and we are equipped to be exactly who He is calling us to be.  I will never be enough on my own, but drowning in the redemption of the cross, Jesus has chosen me. His grace is sufficient to sustain me as I journey through the good and the bad.  It’s enough as I fly thousands of miles to a continent where I don’t speak the language.  His love is fierce for us.

I am enough, because His grace is deeper and wider and bigger than we could ever fathom.

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