In 2020, the "pandemic" year, no one can feel strong in the face of the global pandemic, but rather weak. Speaking of weakness and falling, the most representative in the Bible is Peter. He denied the Lord for three times. And finally, he came out of weakness and fall, renewed his strength in the Lord, and became a great apostle.
During the coronavirus pandemic, we all went through a spiritual valley and our relationship with the Lord seemed to have been frozen, just like Peter denying the Lord three times. In such a moment, we need to repent like Peter and rely more closely on God, asking him to give us the strength to come out of the situation, renew our strength, and have the life to soar on wings like eagles. Peter's failure to recognize the Lord is a lesson for us. However, his victory in the Lord also sets a good example for us.
Peter, who had been following the Lord for three years, was so frustrated on the night of the Lord's arrest that he disowned the Lord three times before a young servant girl. In fact, before he had denied the Lord in his words, he had already denied him in his heart.
We say that we are followers of the Lord, and yet deny him in our spirit and in our actions. What weakness and a falling it is. During the pandemic, the physical church has been temporarily suspended, and family members accuse and complain to each other at home. Because of the fear of facing the virus and the lack of spiritual companion, none of us dared to boast, and the state of our spirituality was at its worst.
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” I suppose, if the temptation had come like it did to Peter, who could say if he or she would confess his faith in the Lord with his heart and with his words?
“Whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” It is a sad thing for a man who believes in God all his life but is finally denied by the Lord.
When I was young, I used to laugh at Peter because I thought if I had been in Peter's situation, I would not have been weak and fallen like Peter did. Some pastors who are spiritually more mature and who have experienced spiritual highs and lows, were able to put themselves in Peter's shoes and use his weaknesses and failings as lessons. Peter did in fact follow the Lord to the high priest's court, and it shows that he was brave when compared to the other disciples who fled the scene at this point.
Wang Ming-Dao, God's old servant, was once weak for a time, and later he confessed that he was like Judas, denying the Lord and betraying him. He however became spiritually free when he held on to the true faith.
Peter, who from being very weak, became the one who ascended like an eagle. In the book of Acts it says he preached to between three and five thousand who welcomed the salvation message. His victory ought to be our victory. Peter once said, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” In fact, he really did fall.
The principle of God's way is that his grace is perfect when men are weak. When Peter realized his weakness and failings, he repented and returned to the Lord to renew his strength. Therefore, when one knows one's weakness and one's failings, if one returns to the Lord, the Lord will renew his or her strength.
We can do nothing without the Lord. When we look to him, we are renewed. During the pandemic, we have experienced weakness. We have not been able to help ourselves, and others have been busy enough with their own affairs. At this time, we can only fix our eyes on the Lord, who is responsible and strengthens us. The precious blood of the Lord is very effective. There is no sin so great that he cannot forgive. The Lord is almighty, and his omnipotence helps all those who look to him. It matters not whether we are weak, but whether we are continually following and looking to the Lord.
Peter's life, spreading his wings like an eagle, is also based on the prayer of the Lord and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”
Our Lord is the high priest, who in heaven daily prays for the believers. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. He also anoints us and gives us strength. Spiritually, we are not alone in the pandemic, for the Holy Spirit is with a true believer. The Lord will pray for those who love him as much as he prayed for Peter to strengthen them. The Holy Spirit is especially with those who are suffering, because God promises the glorious Spirit to be with believers when they suffer for the name of Christ during the pandemic.
Peter's life rose like an eagle's in the sight of the risen Lord. “The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” It is also same for us. No matter how dangerous the situation is, we should not lose heart, because we have experienced the resurrection of the Lord, and this resurrection power has been placed in us by faith, giving us hope and confidence.
For a time, Martin Luther was so weak and miserable, and his wise wife said to him, “Is Christ really dead? The risen Lord is our hope. What are we afraid of when we think of the resurrection? The Lord has risen, and so will we who believe in him. The Bible tells us, ‘Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength’.”
Peter preached once and three to five thousand people were saved, showing that this great power was not from Peter, but the Lord. In contrast to the three times that Peter denied the Lord, Judas, another disciple, also sinned greatly and spiritually entered the darkest hours. However unlike Peter, he was paid a bribe to appease his conscience and was brought to ruin by not returning to the Lord.
“Who is weak, and do I not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and do I not inwardly burn?” Paul's words in 2 Corinthians advance Christ's voice. Physical meetings in churches have not yet resumed, and so believers are weak, fail and stumble. I wish we would consider the Lord's mind. Be like Peter. Repent, pray for the Holy Spirit's presence, and see the risen Lord in faith. Then shall we renew our strength, as Peter, and mount up with wings as eagles. Amen!
- Translated by Sophia Chen