a blog written by Jennifer Lynn
Imagine getting your hopes up for something, and then getting let down. I mean utterly disappointed to the point that you lose all hope. Maybe even resort back to old habits because you figure, it’s over. It was a good run but now it seems that it’s over. You had planned your life out to be one thing, and it was lookin’ good there for a short while but now it looks like you’re gonna have to let that all go and go back to what you knew before. I’ve definitely felt that in my life…many, many times. As I’m sure many of you have as well.
Hope can be a dangerous thing. It’s risky business. It’s kind of like a drug. It’s a great high, that feeling of getting your hopes up, looking forward to something that you’ve wanted for a really long time. Something you’ve planned for and it looks like it’s finally happening. But when your hopes come crashing down, that coming down part is tough. It doesn’t feel great and you go through so many emotions; anger, grief, sadness, denial, depression and then finally acceptance.
I’ve given up hope on a number of things over the years. Relationships, career, money etc. When I was growing up I had a plan of where I wanted to be at this stage in my life, and I can tell you, that I am no where near it. What-so-ever. Mainly because of choices I’ve made. Choices that I’m still dealing with consequences over. I’ve definitely been hopeless, many times. Thinking my life was gonna be one way and at times it looked good and then something happens and I get let down all over again. After awhile you start to wonder, what’s the point? That the last time was the last time. That I’ll never get my hopes up again, for anything. Getting comfortable with the way things are because it won’t ever change.
When I was thinking about writing this topic, the apostle Peter came to mind. He’s another one of my favourite people in the Bible. The guy was such a rebel. He knew exactly what hopelessness felt like. He knew what it felt like to get his hopes up and then to have it all come crashing down. You can read this part of his story in Luke Chapter 24 and John Chapters 20 and 21.
After 3 1/2 years of hanging out with Jesus, his teacher, his Lord and his friend, it all came to an end. Peter and all of the others that loved Him, watched Jesus die the most horrible death you can possibly imagine; crucifixion. But to them, He wasn’t supposed to die. In their minds, Jesus was their Messiah, their Saviour. He was going to save them from the Romans. He was going to overthrow the government and free the Jewish people. They had been waiting for this for generations and now, in Peter’s mind, that moment was here. In Jesus. Everything was going to get better now. But that wasn’t the case. At least not yet.
Unbeknownst to Peter and all the others, Jesus was in fact saving them. Just not the way that they originally thought. Jesus was their Messiah, their Saviour. But instead of overthrowing governments, He was overthrowing sin. He was saving them in a way that was far more important than just being free from human tyranny. He was making a way to save their souls. To have relationship with God again. In the moment it looked like defeat. It was painful and bitter and unrecognizable. But the result was salvation.
When Jesus rose again from the grave 3 days later, He appeared to a few of his women followers first. He told them to tell the disciples, making special reference to Peter specifically. (Peter had denied he knew Jesus just 4 days earlier out of fear of being associated with him during his trial.) When Peter heard the news that Jesus was alive, he couldn’t believe it! He had watched his friend die a gruesome death that nobody could possibly survive! His response? Peter and John bolted and ran all the way to the tomb where Jesus had been buried. He had to see for himself. John out ran Peter and got there first. John only stood at the entrance and merely stooped down to see inside. Peter got there soon after and also stooped down to see inside and then went all the way in the tomb to see for himself, with John following after him. They were both able to see, firsthand the burial cloths that were folded where Jesus’ body used to be. But Jesus himself wasn’t there!
Not long after, Peter and a few others were by the Sea of Galilee. Peter then announced that he was going fishing so the others joined along with him. This is what Peter did for a living before Jesus called him to be his disciple. It was what he knew. At this point Jesus had already appeared to Peter and the others twice, showing them that he was alive. But to Peter, he probably figured that although him and Jesus had a good run, that things would never go back to what they used to be. Jesus was alive again, and that was great but things would never be the same. So he went back to what he knew. Fishing was comfortable. It didn’t let him down. It didn’t disappoint him. It was steady and familiar.
When they had fished all night, and caught nothing, Jesus came along, walking on the shore early in the morning and shouted to them to put their net over the other side of the boat. They listened and caught so many that they couldn’t even bring the net in because there was so many. At that moment Peter realized it was Jesus standing there on the shore. And in true ‘Peter’ fashion, he jumped off the boat and swam/waded through 300 feet of water to the shore to meet Jesus. They all had breakfast together and afterwards Jesus proceeded to encourage and commission Peter with the calling that he had on his life. Something that Jesus had already hinted at when he first officially called Peter to be his disciple years earlier. (Matthew Chapter 4) But after everything that had happened over the last few days, Peter needed reminding that there was nothing to go back to. That there was something ahead of him that required his full attention, and his life.
After everything that Peter had witnessed and been through, the calling on his life still hadn’t changed. It was the process that got him there that he didn’t plan on. He didn’t plan on denying Jesus under pressure from others. He didn’t plan on Jesus dying and watching his hopes and dreams die with Him. He didn’t plan on feeling the fear and hopelessness in the days following his death. He didn’t plan on Jesus rising again from the dead (even though he had told them he would a number of times). And he certainly didn’t plan on Jesus giving him a second chance. The circumstances around him changed, but his calling never went anywhere. It was still waiting for him after the dust settled.
My life hasn’t worked out how I thought it would growing up. It’s definitely jumped the tracks and gotten messy. And because of that I’ve tried so hard to never get my hopes up about anything ever again. It’s been painful, I’ve felt defeated, bitter, hopeless and my dreams have been unrecognizable. But this past year I’ve seen God open doors for me that I am able to draw from what I’ve been through.
And much like on that third day, out of something painful I believe will come the greatest joy.