Posted by Michael
There is a well-known story in the Bible about a man named Peter who was a close follower of Jesus. During the trial of Jesus just prior to his crucifixion, Peter, fearing for his life, denied even knowing him. This came after three years of close community with Jesus where he witnessed miracles and heard countless teachings. This was also after Peter had bragged that he would never leave Jesus’ side, at which point Jesus predicted the upcoming denials. Many are quick to judge Peter for his fear and his betrayal, but a closer look at the passage shows that all of the disciples made similar promises to Jesus (see Mark 14:31). The disciples broke away from Jesus for a while due to the fact that the actions happening in front of them didn’t match up with the expectations they carried in their heads. “Jesus wasn’t supposed to die like this! This was supposed to be the start of something big.”
This is the precise reason that many of us pull away from Jesus from time to time in our own lives. What we expect of Jesus doesn’t match up to what we experience in our lives. “I thought Jesus loved me, why would he let me get sick? Why would he allow my friend to lie about me and betray me? I just want to provide for my family, why won’t he give me a job?” It’s at that point that we run away angry, fearful, and confused. We expect that Jesus will make our life work, when the Bible and our own life experiences teach us very clearly that life doesn’t work. Our world is broken, as are our relationships, jobs, and bodies. As comforting as a nice predictable path through life might seem, it’s not something that Jesus ever promised. He promised His presence and He promised that He would make our lives matter. He wants to use us to bring hope and mercy to the very broken world that we wake up to every day. It’s in this way that our own hearts are calmed. Purpose offers much more comfort than predictability. It’s not as immediate, but it’s deeper and longer lasting, and purpose is what we are promised.