Flipping through a book on my shelf this morning,
I found notes from something I wrote down about five years ago
on the back of an overdue notice from the library:
"Simon was so convinced of himself, that he couldn't hear the Lord."
I am thankful that the Lord speaks anyway:
that although our self-confidence shuts our ears to truth spoken to us,
He speaks it that we might 'hear' it later,
once we've failed in our estimation of ourselves;
denied Him, and cursed to emphasize our lie;
and run away just as weak and fearful
as all the weaklings we set ourselves up as stronger than;
and wept bitterly at our own inconstancy;
and our failed love and diminished strength.
That His love holds on to us through our failure to hold on to Him.
"But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail.
And when you turn back to Me, you must strengthen your brothers."
'When you are converted,' some versions say.
When you've done a 180.
When you've come around.
When you repent,
you'll be in a position to not just be strong for you,
but to make others stronger.
Real strength does that.
It makes others stronger.
It doesn't just rejoice in its own authority,
its own ability to conquer.
But it pulls strength out of grace, having failed,
and makes other people's hands stronger.
It stands beside the tired-armed, and helps them hold their arms up.
It doesn't just yell at others to Stop Limping!
It digs out the splinters as painlessly as possible,
so weak little feet can walk again.
He sees weakness and future failure,
and prays faith and strength into it.
And that very failure becomes the strengthener of the weak.
He is the Lifter of our heads, and the only good we have to boast of.
And turn your eyes and look at Him:
knowledge of coming failure in His friends
is met with hope, prayer, mercy, love, and forgiveness.
Though He is leaving them,
He does not fret that they are not what they ought to be.
I fret about those I consider it my duty to perfect.
But our Jesus isn't fretting.
He trusts the work of the Holy Spirit in Peter.
He prays for him, and speaks to him what he needs to hear,
and although He knows perfectly well Peter can't hear Him,
trusts His words will hit their mark
and do their work even after He's gone.