Last evening I sat down with an old friend… a worn notebook dated 2005. As I perused the pages of this familiar journal, I smiled at the memories these penned words conjured up. I winced at the rawness of some of the entries I had written in brokenness, and I sighed with relief to see the glimpses of growth that have taken place within me with the passing of years.
There are treasures found in memories.
Lessons to be learned.
Praises to be pondered.
Gratefulness to be expressed to the One who has remained faithful and true through all of life’s twists and turns.
Today, I am sharing words from another. Words that I had deemed worthy of being copied into my daily life many years ago. Words that I still find worth in today. Words that are worth repeating for the sake of bringing hope to you, as well. May you be encouraged in reading this excerpt from the life of Peter as he describes his denial of Christ in Larry Huntsperger’s novel The Fisherman:
Each of us constructs our lives on beliefs we accept as unshakable. These beliefs form the great support pillars of our existence, pillars on which everything else is built. We rarely or perhaps never acknowledge their existence in our conscious minds. Yet every choice we make, every word we utter, every goal we hold for the future assumes this certainty.
For me, the greatest of those pillars, the one upon which all the others depended, the one rooted in the deepest core of my being, was the understanding that Simon Barjonah would always ultimately prevail. If I tried hard enough, if I learned from my mistakes, if I regrouped following my failures, I could and I would succeed. This was not simply something I hoped for, it was the foundation of my life.
When Jesus entered my world, He brought massive changes with Him. When I finally submitted to His lordship, He became my reason for being. His goals became my goals. His successes became my successes. His techniques became my techniques. His affirmations became my greatest joys, and His reprimands pierced me deeply. In a word, He became the center of my world.
But even though I had forsaken all and followed Him, the central pillar of my life was still undisturbed. My goals were different. My techniques were different. My reason for living was changed. But the means by which I pursued all of these remained unaltered. Whereas once my determination, my strength, my wit, my charisma, indeed, all my fleshly attributes had been focused on becoming Simon the great fisherman, through Jesus all those fleshly attributes had been refocused on becoming Simon the great disciple.
Then, in one terrifying instant, at the very moment when He knew all my weight rested upon it, Jesus reached His almighty arms around that pillar and wrenched it out from under me, and everything that rested upon it came crashing down. Now there was only the shattered ruins of my existence surrounding a cold, black, gaping chasm where once my pillar had been.
If you have ever been there, you will understand. It wasn’t just that I had failed. Failure I understand. Failure was simply a call to try harder and reach higher. This was not failure; this was death. The foundation of my life had collapsed, and now my spirit wandered aimlessly through the piles of rubble, through the broken bricks and crumpled mortar, listening to the wind whistling through the ruins of my life…
Perhaps you are in the same position today as Peter found himself when the true knowledge of Christ collided with the flesh of Simon. Jolted and undermined. Shaken and found weak.
Sifted and found wanting.
What are we to do when all that we have rested our lives upon has been shaken?
But not in our own strength.
Not according to our flesh.
If you are in a place where it seems as if the very foundations of your faith are being rattled to the core, then I invite you to invite the Rock of salvation to come to your rescue.
Those pillars upon which you have rested for so long are not strong enough to withstand this storm. Indeed, they were never meant to.
So let them tumble, dear one. And with the crumbling of all those hollow pillars that you thought were holding you firmly, you will find the truth.
Those pillars of self-reliance have no strength.
But the Cornerstone called Christ is powerful enough to uphold all things.
If the very foundations of the world can rest upon His shoulders, how much more can the foundations of one hurting child who is floundering in her faith rest in His care?
Remember, dear friend, when your world is shaking… the pillars of heaven stand.
And they will continue to do so throughout all eternity.
Now that’s a foundation worth building upon.