“He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:15-18 )
Do you ever look back on your life’s trail and wonder how you have been chiseled into who you are today? Life has good experiences and bad encounters. Through it all, life leaves pathways that we can glance back at while creating footpaths toward our future.
In my childhood years I struggled with a skin disease. It could have caused me to run and hide, and to wallow in shame.
Mrs. Brown. That name probably means nothing to you. But to me it is synonymous with kindness.
We are impacted by many stimuli in our world. As a young impressionable life anything could have marked me and set me on a path that would define me as a person.
Simon, a young Galilean fisherman. That’s who you are Simon, a fisherman. But what happens when he encounters Jesus?
Simon arrives at a crossroad. Jesus is there with encouragement, direction and his life is influenced, impacted and changed forever.
The footsteps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord. (Psalm 37:23)
“He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Peter’s life would never be the same.
I recall as a little girl, Mrs. Brown asking my mom if I could attend her son’s birthday party. Now that would not normally be significant. But, to me this was a special invitation. Not many received this invite. Actually, no one in my circle did.
Mrs. Brown was my 2nd grade teacher. She saw beyond my skin and impacted my heart. Her kindness still echoes in my life today.
She understood bullying. Even in the 1960’s this spirit that wants to tear down young people was running wild. I was called all kinds of names. Mrs. Brown pulled me out and loved me. Her responsibility was to teach me. The lesson she taught me did not add up like mathematics. I could have read about kindness, but she allowed me to experience it.
Now, many years later I would come to another crossroads. Life continued to be a teacher to me, and Jesus wanted front seat, my whole heart.
God himself invited me to attend his Son’s gathering. No balloons, no hors d’oeuvre or music playing. A gruesome scene, people chanting crucify him. A man named Jesus is hanging on a cross.
Why? What kind of celebration is this?
A few days later I would better understand. Jesus was taking care of the “bully in the courtyard”. Death promised me separation from God. Jesus promised Eternal Life to the one who accepted the invitation. I reached out my trembling hands and said yes.
Just like Peter, my life would never be the same. Sin dealt with at the cross. The Blood of Jesus, his great love for me, covering a multitude of sin.
As I look back, God’s hand of direction for my life is evident. From school teachers who showed me grace and loved me to the ultimate encounter with God’s Son, Jesus.
Life continues to unfold, and the experiences continue to reveal the hand of God everywhere I look.
He is a merciful, gracious, loving Father and his invitation still stands. You are invited.
Will you accept his invitation?
The bully has been taken care off!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
God bless you!~Liz