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You can become your best ... after your worst

Updated: Jan 27, 2022

When your life falls apart, it has a tendency to make you feel as if your soul has come undone with it. The debris. The aftermath. Loss of family and friends. Loss of path. Loss of purpose. Loss of drive or even the desire to go on.

Author Jonathan Martin in his book, How to Survive a Shipwreck, writes: “ does not really matter how you got here or why; and it doesn’t really matter if it was God or the devil or yourself or some ancient chaos that spilled up from the bottom of the sea. What matters now is that you are drowning, and the world you loved before is not your world any longer. The questions of why and how are less pressing than the reality that is your lungs filling with water now. Philosophy and theology won’t help you much here, because what you believe existentially about storms or oceans or drowning won’t make you stop drowning. Religion won’t do you much good down here, because beliefs can’t keep you warm when you’re twenty thousand leagues beneath the sea.”

So how DO you survive a shipwreck, really?

When everything is sinking, where do you turn? It is good to turn to the stories of Jesus. Okay, and Peter too. You might be thinking of Jesus walking on water, Peter stepping out and "losing his footing", and taking on water rather than walking on it. Certainly, there are some good lessons there. It was, however, not the most significant and excruciating of Peter's failures to be sure, and 'failures' is where I would like to pick up.

We are the most loaded with divine purpose ... AFTER our most shameful failures.

Don't think so?

We have the greatest capacity for divine purpose after our most shameful and personally humiliating failures ... precisely because we have just been stripped and emptied of our pride.

I realize that runs counter to our nature, to think we are positioned for our best when we have just performed or experienced our worst, but the thing is, our self-assured egos have to be crucified ... in order for Christ to fully live in us. And nothing crucifies ego like public and personal humiliation.

Jesus, in a conversation predicting Peters' forthcoming failures, told his dear friend to "turn back" ... to go back and encourage - to strengthen - to establish, his tribe - his brothers and sisters. A curious mind has to ask - "Why would he tell Peter that?".

I firmly believe, it is (at least in part), because he knew how desperately Peter would need to know, not only is he forgiven in advance of his public denial of even knowing of or being associated with Jesus, BUT - that forgiveness alone would not be enough for Peter. Peter would still need to know, that he has a divinely appointed purpose after his biggest and most personally painful and demoralizing failure.

Opportunists are watching for you to go down in flames.

Jesus however, is not only walking with you when your life is burning to the ground - he is eagerly watching for you to emerge from your ashes - for your dry and brittle bones to dance. To join the army of public failures that have become a warring spectacle of His grace.

Don't give up, when you feel you are nothing.

Press on, because you are now armed with your greatest grace asset - God's weapon of choice to pair with His Word ... your testimony.

What do you think He is telling you after your failures?

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