In life we all encounter times of testing. These times of testing expose not only our strengths, but also our weaknesses. Unfortunately, the weaknesses are often exposed through failure. We all too often view these times of failure as disqualifying events from further usefulness in the Kingdom of God; however, these times of failure take on a whole new purpose in the hands of Jesus. To clarify this point let’s look at the words Jesus had for Simon Peter in Luke 22:
Luke 22:32-33 (NASB)
31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;
32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. “
Not only does Jesus tell Peter about Satan’s request to sift his life and the intercession that Jesus is making on Peter’s behalf, but he also reveals something else. I hope you noticed these words: “…and you, when once you have turned again…” Jesus is telling Peter that he is not only going to be put to the test, but that he will actually fail this test for a time. Jesus knew the outcome of Peter’s testing even before the test had begun.
This is a place where God’s grace and sovereignty become so evident. Jesus tells Peter that once he has turned back “strengthen your brothers.” The real message of these words is simple. God does not waste an experience good or bad. Even our greatest failures become victories in the hands of God. He takes our failures and makes them the building blocks of character and strength in our lives and the lives of others. Peter’s story of failure and redemption would become the strengthening agent for the other disciples.
Today you may be in a place where you have let God down in a big way. In your mind, you may feel unworthy to do anything of significance for Him. Let Peter be your example. Jesus knew Peter would fail and yet He also knew Peter would be restored. Peter’s weakness would become strength for others. His failure would be a building block for all who followed after him. Ask God to guide you back and allow you to strengthen others with your own story of failure and redemption.