My heart was broken for my oldest son last night. He runs the 400m dash in track. He’s worked and trained for months, and he only lost 2 races this season, and then he came in second by a hair.
Last night was district prelims, and he had a real chance to qualify as a freshman for finals. That’s a big deal.
But sadly, his nerves and excitement got the best of him, and he jumped the gun and was disqualified. He was devastated. I haven’t seen him that heartbroken since…well…ever. All that work and determination and drive and focus and hope…..and he couldn’t compete.
And then he posted this on Instagram:
This was a thankful mom moment for me. Failure doesn’t define you. It’s what you do after you fail that shows your true character.
Then I thought of Peter. He missed it big time. BIG TIME. And Jesus even tried to warn him about it.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)
Jesus knew Peter was going to miss it. He knew he was going to fail. So He prayed for Peter.
“But if Jesus prayed, why did Peter still fail?” Ever wonder that?
Jesus knew Peter was going to deny Him. He knew it. I think it’s interesting He didn’t say, “I prayed that you wouldn’t fail, but if you do…”
No. Jesus knew what was about to happen, and He prayed that his faith wouldn’t fail. When he did deny Him…when Peter did fail…Jesus didn’t want him to stop believing. He didn’t want Peter’s failure to hold him back from his destiny.
Jesus was basically saying, “Peter, you’re going to mess up. BAD. But when you do, don’t lose faith. Repent. Turn back to me and get on with your destiny.”
So what was Peter’s response to this great revelation?
Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”
He was like, “No Way Lord! No way is that happening. I’m so ready for this. I’ll die with you if I have to. I’m sticking with you every step of the way!”
And do you know what? Peter believed every word of what he said. He truly thought he was ready for that. Ready to die for Him. Ready to follow through on everything he had just said to Jesus.
After all, he’d been with Jesus for years. Years. He was in His inner circle. He was one of Jesus’ BFF’s. He loved Jesus. He had followed Him everywhere and had no intention of stopping.
Then everything happened so fast. An armed crowd and soldiers came to arrest Jesus. Peter even picked up his own sword and cut a man’s ear off to defend Jesus. To help Him. To follow through on what he’d said.
But Jesus told him to stop. Jesus let them arrest Him. I’m sure Peter was confused. This wasn’t the first time they’d been in a precarious situation where someone wanted to arrest or kill Jesus. But every other time, Jesus just walked through the midst of the crowd unharmed. Unscathed. Victorious. Protected. Safe.
But now they arrested Him. What? And Peter followed them to the courtyard of the high priest, watching what would happen.
I’m sure he was waiting on a miracle. On deliverance. Watching and waiting for God to move again. For Jesus to conquer again. They’d only ever seen Him victorious, and this looked strangely like defeat.
But nothing happened. Then they condemned Him to die.
What went through Peter’s mind?
“What’s going on here? This isn’t happening! Jesus get defeated? He always wins. Why didn’t He say anything? He didn’t even defend Himself. He didn’t even try! And where’s God? Why isn’t He doing something? I thought Jesus came to set up a kingdom and rescue us all. How can He do that if He’s dead?”
Dazed. Confused. Reeling from everything going on around him.
Then he denied Jesus. He denied knowing the One he loved and lived with for three years. Not just once. Not just twice. But THREE times.
Imagine how he felt. The Bible says he ran off and wept bitterly. He sobbed. He was devastated. He failed Jesus, his best friend. He failed himself. Imagine what went through his mind.
“’I’ll die with You, Jesus!’ ‘I’m here for You, Jesus!’ Yea right. What a pathetic loser you are. You didn’t even acknowledge you knew Him to a servant girl. Wimp. Loser. Pathetic. You aren’t worth the air you’re breathing right now.”
Our failures don’t define us. Everyone misses the mark at some point. It’s what we do after we fail that shows who we really are. It’s what we do in the next moment, the next day, the next step that matters even more than the fact that we missed it.
We have two choices when we fall:
- We can stay down on the ground feeling sorry for ourselves and about ourselves.
- We can get up, dust ourselves off, and keep moving forward.
I love the version of this in John that shows us the rest of the story. Peter didn’t stay down, isolated and weeping. He got back up.
He ran to the tomb when the girls told them Jesus’ body was gone. He was there with the rest of the disciples when Jesus appeared to them after He was resurrected. He jumped out of the boat and ran right to Jesus when he saw Him on the shore.
Peter returned with his whole heart and soul to Jesus. Then Jesus showed him his destiny.
Don’t let shame or regret get a hold of you and keep you down and hold you back from your destiny.
We all miss it. We all fail. Fall. Jump the gun. We’re human. Just don’t stay there.
Grieve it. Repent. Learn from it. And keep moving forward.
Your destiny awaits!