Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, PhD, RN · NCF National Director, JCN Editor in Chief
This past Holy Week I was struck with a bizarre thought about the apostle Peter: Why did Peter have to go through the devastating failure of denying Jesus on the darkest day in history? Just hours before Jesus’s arrest and Peter’s three denials (John 18:17, 25, 27), Jesus told Peter you will disown me (John 13:37) and explained he would be arrested, crucified, buried, and rise on the third day (Matthew 16; Mark 8; Luke 9). It’s almost as if Peter was destined, even set up, to fail Jesus. What was God doing?
Of course, this makes me wonder about the trials and failures of my life. What is God doing? What could I learn from what happened to Peter?
Gospel accounts reveal Peter had a strong personality, high strung devotion, and liked being in control. When Jesus first predicted his death (Matthew 16:21-23), Peter said “Never!” because he would not allow Jesus to be treated that way. Peter committed to lay down his life for Jesus (John 13:37) and defended Jesus with his sword in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 18:10). Yet Peter’s faith crumbled at the simple questions of servants in a dark courtyard. He froze and not only said he wasn’t with Jesus, he said he didn’t even know Jesus. Wow. What was God doing as Peter miserably failed?
Peter was utterly undone as he ran into the darkness and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:75). He thought he could control life. This crucible event showed Peter he could not control anything--not himself or others or life events. Peter faced his paralyzing fear and weakness of faith that fateful night. He discovered his true self. He also learned that only God is in control and knows what will happen. Is it possible God destined Peter for momentary discomfort so he could set Peter free? I would say unequivocally, yes!
So… what might God be doing in the trials and failures in my life? Jesus transformed Peter’s failure into deep repentance and later, deep relationship with Jesus and amazing triumph as Peter became the first great preacher and leader of the early Church (see the book of Acts!).
God designed a tough situation to transform Peter. Trials are tough growth for me too. I currently use an app called WordGo from Bible Study Fellowship for digging into God’s Word. The weekly teaching for John 18 comments, We are not the master controller of our trials. Our trials are masterfully designed to show us Jesus.
How are trials showing me my true self… and the real Jesus?
Peter had a big wake up call when the rooster crowed (John 18:27). Am I hearing God’s wake up calls to repent? To capitulate and give him full control?
Rather than commiserating trials, what if I prayed more? And prayed and kept on praying to know myself more clearly and know God more gloriously?
What will God do in and through my life after overwhelming trials?
How might I discover with Peter a God who makes sovereign choices that span eternity?
Journal Club April 22 (1.5 hours NCPD)
While nurses pour out their care, compassion, and skills on patients and their families, the majority of nurses are worn out, compassion fatigued, and too short of time to care well for themselves. Shifting the self-care paradigm to one of stewardship is a powerful move toward tending to one’s own valid needs physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. Join other nurses for the Journal Club on Thursday, April 22, at 7 pm CST via live webinar using the JCN article “Self-Care: A Stewardship Perspective" (April/June 2021 issue), to recognize why we shortchange ourselves and how, with a refreshed view, we can reframe self-care as stewarding the persons God made us to be. Article author Rachel Spurlock Helbley will join the JCN editors to interact with nurses on this topic.
To join the webinar on 4/22:https://intervarsity.zoom.us/j/97690685050 or join by phone: (669) 900-6833 or (253) 215-8782 or (346) 248-7799 or (646) 876-9923 or (301) 715-8592 or (312) 626-6799 / Webinar ID: 976 9068 5050
Right smack in the middle of our pain, we may wonder if there is even a God? And, if there is, where is he? We may have been a believer in Christ for many years and when life’s bottom falls out, our faith can be severely tested. Unless we have been trained to process our pain well, we could despair. Naming and owning our pain right in front of God can be life sustaining. Let’s explore together God’s whereabouts when we are hurting. Join us April 26th at 8 pm EST / 7 pm CST / 6 pm MST / 5 pm PST to discuss Where Is God When It Hurts?
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