I feel like I’ve slipped on Peter’s skin again. The boat reeks of fish as I climb over the splintered sides and push from shore. I probably won’t be catching anything but seaweed today. I can’t see Him.
I can almost feel the breeze, the same that kissed the face of Jesus. Oh, leaders of all kinds make fun of Peter. I’ve laughed along with them as they listed all of his screw ups. He lost his temper and cut someone’s ear off. He walked with the very Son of God and then was mocked by roosters when he denied Jesus in a moment of fear. I laughed until I realized I was him.
I don’t use a knife for anything but a tool, but my words have cut through the skin of more than one person, sometimes out of impatience, sometimes out of complete unedited idiocy.
I’ve believed in Jesus for as long as I can remember, but in seasons of heartache, seasons of stretching $25 into a week of groceries, moments when I just wasn’t good enough, I’ve looked away from the sky to my own solutions, finding shame in my denial of His power, His love.
I cast my nets and sit. I wait.
Sometimes in the waiting, I get impatient. I grab a dirt-coated worm, stick it to a hook and plunk it into the sea. No bites worth keeping.
I tug on my shirt and stare at the frayed edges. I look across the water to the hills.
Suddenly, a flash of white. A form, a bright something hovers over the water and I cry out. It’s a ghost—a haunting of all my screw-ups finally come to devour me!
I’m done for.
When he says my name my heart winds down to shame. It’s Him. How could I have not recognized my friend?
I look around and take a feeble step. Should I?
Who do I think I am?
I want to – I look at His face, and just for a moment I feel like I’m anything but a dimwitted Peter.
I step onto the water and it holds. “I’m coming”, I say and I start to move forward. The sun burns fierce on my skin, a zephyr nearly knocks me over, but I keep my eyes on Him and I AM WALKING ON WATER.
The wind spins on my shoulder for a moment and blows trash in my ear. It reminds me that I’m not good enough for this.
My feet break through the water and I’m in over my head. I can’t breathe. All the mistakes I’ve made rush into my mouth and I’m drowning.
A hand lifts me up, up, up, toward the light. The surface breaks into a thousand shards as my Friend lifts me into the boat.
He puts His hands on either side of my face. They are bleeding, pierced with a sea full of hooks. Mine sticks straight into His heart and Love spills all over me.
“My blood is enough to pay for all of it,” He says, “Just keep your eyes on Me.”
Then he slips Peter’s skin from me and says,
“You are wonderfully and uniquely made.”
I pop back into my living room and stare at the painting on the wall called, The Word. I see Peter, my brother from the line of Oops, and watch as he leaves the boat behind to follow our friend.
Despite his mess-ups, his denial, his blunders, Jesus takes him and gifts him with grace and strong feet – the kind that keep walking toward Jesus. He keeps walking. He fishes for those stuck in the boat.
And somewhere along the way Jesus made him into a rock star.
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.” Matthew 16:18 (HCSB)
I look at The Word again, catching sight of Peter’s last days. His walk has led him to a finely sculpted artwork. All because he kept his eyes on Jesus.