Should I let my child fall or always run to prevent disaster?
As a parent, one of the desires of my heart was to prevent any type of pain or injury to my girls. I mean, why wouldn’t I? Isn’t that my role as a parent? After all, what possible good could there be from allowing them to feel any hurt? I was their father… my job was to protect them. After many years of ‘protecting them’, I’ve learned that by shielding them from those challenges that could have strengthened them, I’ve actually disabled them from being able to deal with some life issues in the event I was no longer there to assist them, which will happen one day! Don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying I should have deliberately jeopardized their safety, not running every time they fell down may have had some long-term positive effects.
When I read through Mark 14, it shook me on many levels. Not only did the reading show how Peter reacted to both weakness and fear, but if Peter, who I considered to be one of the greatest of the disciples, could be led to deny our Lord and Savior at such pivotal moments, what chance did I have at surviving the test of faith in my life?
Peter’s denial, as can be said for our denial of who Jesus is, is based partially on weakness born on human frailty. The events related to what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane found Peter falling asleep twice even after Jesus asked him to stay awake and pray because He knew what challenges Peter would be up against later in life. By the time the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, it was too late to pray for the strength to endure the ordeal that had just occurred. As a result, we see Peter weeping bitterly at the awareness of his failure of being forever watchful… so much so that in 1 Peter 5:8, Peter exhorts us to “Be on the alert, for your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Peter realized that his weakness caused him to be devoured at the critical time when he denied his Lord by not being prepared for his challenges through prayer and underestimating his weaknesses.
Peter also suffered from fear. While commendable, Peter continued to follow Jesus after our Savior’s arrest after the others fled (Mark 14:50), but Peter always kept his distance so he wasn’t identified or associated with Jesus (Mark 14:54). I can imagine the fear that gripped Peter… after all, witnessing Jesus being falsely accused, beaten, and insulted (Mark 14:57-66), he had to have feared for his own life. Not being prepared to deal with the persecution Jesus was suffering caused Peter to deny Jesus.
But could Jesus have stopped Peter from falling so hard to prevent Peter from denying his Lord three times that night? Jesus being Who He was, of course, He could have. In Luke 22:31, Jesus had revealed to Peter that the devil had asked for permission to “sift Peter like wheat.” Jesus could have prevented this from happening, but instead, chose to allow Peter to go through what he did as He had greater plans for Peter. And just as it was stated in Psalm 12:7-8, “You, Lord, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked”, through Peter’s adversity, Jesus was preparing Peter to strengthen his brothers… to serve as the leader of the early church in Jerusalem and leading others to find and follow Jesus (Acts 2). Just as Jesus allowed Peter to go through what he did to shape him into the man He needed him to be, sometimes the best lesson we can offer our children is to allow them to fail, for it is in failures that some of the most valuable lessons are learned.
Lord Jesus, You have great plans for us and Your ways are best, even when we go through adversity, you work all things for good for those who know and love you. Thank You for loving us as You do, for without You, we are nothing! We ask You, Father, to guide us on this road of life with Your sweet grace so our actions are pleasing to You and we do what you want us to do when You call our name. Amen.
gstefanelli (Greg Stefanelli)