I stood on the edge of the porch, paintbrush in hand. As the white paint slathered onto the wood, covering all the imperfections, the parallel wasn’t lost on me. I knew I was standing in the middle of a do over. I had lived a dark season of failing God. He knew it and I knew it. The choice of returning to that dark place was before me. Was I willing to make the other choice this time, the choice of following Jesus and His way?
I knew I had to make the right choice this time. This was my do over. My mind went back to Peter. He had failed Jesus so blatantly, too. Even after years of intimacy with Him, Peter had made the choice, out of fear maybe, to protect himself.
Out of fear, I had attempted to protect myself, my way. It only left me covered in shame. I knew Peter would relate.
As I painted the porch, accomplishing the chore that tethered me to the house, the thought of those dark moments made my knees weak. Peter’s redemption began to overshadow my thinking.
The boat was empty after a long night of trying to find a new focus. These men who knew all the ins and outs of fishing were returning to shore with an empty boat and discouraged souls. Suddenly from the shore comes the instruction to cast the net on the other side. Try this a new way. Do it His way. In blind faith, unsure of the One who was calling out the directions, the fishermen obey the suggestion and cast once more.
Suddenly the net can barely contain the 153 fish that seem to rush to be caught! The discouragement gave way to excitement as the men worked hard to gather the fish. The realization of the nearness of Jesus came over John and no sooner had Jesus been identified that Peter threw himself in the sea and splashed his way towards his precious Savior.
Somehow we just know grace will envelope us and cover the exposed shamed. Peter knew.
When the sea met the land, Jesus invited them to be fed and filled. Grace that meets us where we are but then fills us with what we need. And in those moments the intimacy of the Redeemer and His child is initiated. Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” Not once. Not twice. But three times. Just as the three times Peter had failed Him so blatantly, Jesus now offers him three points of do over. Three points of laying down the shame and repenting.
Jesus doesn’t leave us with words alone, but rather He offers actions for us to be able to respond with. Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep. Nothing glamourous or self-exalting, just the mundane tasks of a shepherd. But in those moments of being anchored back to the Good Shepherd, Peter was being called to redeeming actions of grace. Just as he was being graced, he was to respond with grace and love and service towards those smelly sheep he would be called to serve.
Jesus seals the lesson in this redemption with Peter the same way I felt He sealed it with me, “Follow me.” He knew hardships weren’t leaving any time soon, but He also knew Peter, and I, needed to be invited back, reminded of the call to follow Him. He did not revoke His call, He highlighted it. When we fail Him, because we will, He already knows and yet extends His scarred hands towards us to cover the shame, remove the guilt and invite us to go and love likewise.
As a redeemed atheist transformed by the Word of God, Mariel Davenport seeks to inspire women to tend their way by the Word to better know God and walk in the security of a deeper relationship with Him. Through her collaborative devotionals, journal, membership community and blog, she has reached ladies of all ages and denominations with the joy of knowing God through His Word. She is a homeschool mama turned writer who is passionate about her salsa garden and time on the porch with her husband of over twenty years. They make their home on the coast of North Carolina with their two nearly launched sons and favorite mutt, Scout.
Connect with Mariel:
Did you love today’s devotion?
Sign up to receive the weekly love offering straight to your inbox.