Have you ever had a situation arise in your life where you wish God had warned you that it was coming so you could have been more prepared? That has been the case for me over the past couple of weeks. Anxiety and stress have nearly caused me to have a melt down. I wish God would have warned me or maybe He did and I was too busy to listen or just never believed it could happen to me. This type of situation occurred in one of the disciples lives and he failed like me. But Jesus was gracious and restored him. Let’s look at four steps from warning to restoring that we may go through. A word of encouragement – restoration will always happen if we allow Jesus to do it.
The disciple we are going to look at is Peter. It starts at the last supper and ends at the Sea of Galillee.
The first step is warning. At the last supper Jesus was there with His disciples. Jesus made the statement that one of them would betray Him (that was Judas who chose to stop at step 3). Peter said to Jesus that he would never betray Him. Jesus told Peter that before the rooster crows that Peter would deny Him three times.( Mark 14: 1 to 31) Let’s think about it. This seemed impossible. It was already night and roosters crow to start the next day. When would Peter have the opportunity to deny Jesus let alone do it. But events unfolded that night that changed the shape and course of the Kingdom of God. Jesus warned Peter and He will warn us too if we will begin to listen. It may not be stopped but we will be prepared.
The second step is prayer. Jesus and the disciples then proceeded to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus left the disciples to go and pray. Jesus knew what would happen to Him but He needed to get the strength to endure from God. But what did Peter do. Jesus told him to pray that he wouldn’t give into the temptation but he chose to sleep. What would have happened if Peter prayed? We will never know. Jesus came back and found him and some others asleep. Then Jesus told them that their spirit is always willing to pray but their flesh (their physical and emotional sides ) is weak. (Mark 14:32 to 42). If we heed the warning we should pray that we will also not give into temptation. Not let Satan steal from us and get us looking away from God.
The third step was giving into that temptation. Often we will fall into this trap. We can beat ourselves up and consider that this is where it ends and forgiveness just won’t or can’t be found. If you are like Peter and fall, don’t give in, do what he did. He went out and wept bitterly. Repent before God as soon as you can. It is only step 3.(Mark 14: 66 to 72).
The last step is step 4. This is a good step. It is the restoration step – that step where Jesus comes along, forgives you and restores you right back to where you were. For some of us, the distance between step 3 and 4 can take minutes. For others it can take years but restoration from Jesus is always there if you will accept it. The hardest part is forgiving yourself but you need to. Get up, dust yourself off and keep walking. John 21 tells us Peters restoration story. Peter had gone back fishing with the others but Jesus came looking for them. Don’t you love that! Because Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus restored Him by asking Peter three questions. God is always good to us. He is not there to beat you up but to restore.
If you find yourself in one of the above steps, just run to Jesus. If you have found yourself in step threee for too long, run to Jesus and He will restore. Just come with an open heart to hear and one of repentance. God will never let you down.
This week remember we can go from preparation to restoration in all that we are facing. Remember Jesus is at every step just waiting for you. Bless you heaps and keep living the life God intended.