Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What About Him?

When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” John 21:21-22

Two days of inner turmoil. Just as a seasonal struggle settled on Peter, a constant reminder of his decline, reports of progress and answered prayers for others bombarded me. It amazed me how painful other people’s successes could hurt. I truly appreciated their successes, but my inner voice cried out What about me? Why did God’s healing touch reach them and not my son? I’d walked through enough trial to know the danger of staying in this pity party. But I struggled to let it go. Just when I thought I’d climbed out of my pit, I’d hear another good report and I had to start all over again!

While I prayed that day on the drive home, the disciple Peter came to mind. In John 21 Jesus restores Peter after his denial on the night of the crucifixion. Jesus then tells Peter how he will die. It isn’t great news. Seeing John nearby, Peter asks Jesus about him to which Jesus replies, “What is it to you? You must follow me.” I recognized my ensnarement in Peter's comparison game. When placed on a tough road, his first response was to question fairness. Like Peter, I was choosing to question instead of accept God's plan.

Jesus’ responded to me with the same response as Peter’s,"What is it to you what I do for another? You’re job is not to compare but to follow-no matter where I lead." God has woven my life into a plan much larger than myself. The God who sees all designed it and so understands the bends in the road even when I don’t. My job is to trust him and accept his plan, to say OK, now how do I get through this?, instead of looking at someone else’s plan and compare. Comparisons pass judgment on God’s plan and arrogantly assume I know better.

When I looked up the story once home, I noticed a cross reference to Matthew 16:27. Jesus says here that upon his return, “he will reward each person according to what he has done.” Each infers an individualized reward. It’s not what I’ve done compared to so and so. It’s simply a reward based on what I have done with the life I’ve been given. God has rewards he wants to give me which are dependent on his plan for my life. No one else’s plan will be right for me.

Peter did accept God’s plan and became the leader of the disciples and pillar of the church. His own trials helped him encourage others through theirs. In accepting God’s plan for his life, he became the servant of Christ he longed to be. I trust that's God’s goal for me as well. As I accept his plan for me, I too will become his servant and friend in ever deeper ways.

I encourage you, as your challenges lie before you, to not look to another’s journey but to the author of your own. He longs to use this special path to bring you closer to him, and to one day shower you with the rewards from walking it together.

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