[Peter] began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.” (Mark 14:71)
There are moments in time when a crisis of faith comes about, and even people with deep resolve call into question the things they believe. How does a person like Peter, who promised that he would never leave Jesus’ side, somehow come to the point of denying that he even knew Jesus when questioned by a teenage girl? Only a few hours earlier he was taking up his sword to defend Jesus, and now he proclaimed that he didn’t know the man at all.
Is it possible that Peter actually didn’t know Jesus? Perhaps the Jesus he thought he knew wasn’t the Jesus whom Jesus turned out to be. Perhaps Peter thought he was following a political leader who would overthrow the Roman government. When Jesus rebuked Peter for cutting off the high priest’s servant’s ear, maybe Peter came to a realization that he truly didn’t know Jesus. Suddenly, the man in whom he had placed his faith gave up without a fight and was dragged off to false trials before being executed in the worst way imaginable. This knowledge threw Peter into a tailspin – he had no idea what to think or believe.
The same is true with us sometimes. When we go through crisis moments when God doesn’t show up the way we expect or when things don’t go the way we believe they should go, it’s easy to call our faith into question and to wonder if God is real in the first place. Like Peter, we want to run away because the God we thought we were worshiping suddenly isn’t the same. What Peter found out, however, is that what happened to Jesus was all in God’s plans. Though he couldn’t understand it in the moment, he was able to grab hold of it down the road.
As we face trials and crises and misunderstandings of how God works, we have an opportunity to allow God to expand our understanding of Him. The alternate response is to write Him off as nonexistent or uncaring. Peter’s later revelation was that God knew exactly what was going on – even though it seemed like chaos in the moment. Don’t allow the present chaos undermine your understanding of God; allow it to enlarge your understanding of Him. Truly, He still holds the world – even when it feels like He doesn’t.
Lord, help me to have an unwavering faith in You. Even when the circumstances of life communicate that You have abandoned me or are not present, let me remember the cross and the moment when Jesus was crucified. Such a beautiful plan of salvation for the world was completely misunderstood in the moment. Help me to trust You even when life doesn’t make sense.