Another Chance

If anyone had ever felt like a failure it was Pete.

His grandiose words of a few days ago echoed in his ears like cruel taunts: "
I'll even die for you!" he had proclaimed with enough bravado to sink a boat.

Now the memory sank his heart. He'd been so sure this time. So certain that this was his life's calling. The Teacher from Nazareth had swept him away, convinced him that he was destined for greatness. He'd never been a part of anything so grand. Him. Pete! A nobody who smelled like dead fish. And the Teacher, the exalted Rabbi had chosen him as a companion. It had taken him months just to get the reality through his head.

There had been a time when he believed he would die for this cause. For this Man.

Then he'd had the chance.

Shame washed over him as he scrubbed his fishing nets a little harder. Fishing. He'd thought he was finished with fishing. These last three years had changed him, but apparently not enough. What a jerk! What a loser! Just when he'd had the chance to prove his braggadocios words, he'd tucked tail and run. What a coward.

He was almost glad the Teacher was dead. That last look of compassion was enough to finish Pete off. The Teacher had known about Pete's failure. He'd heard!

And that look...
It was bad enough that Pete would have to face himself in the mirror every day. At least he wouldn't have to gaze into the disappointed eyes of the friend he'd betrayed.

A shout, and then John was running down the bank toward him, leaving dust clouds in his wake. He groaned and scrubbed harder. Not John again. The faithful one. The one who'd actually stuck it out. Stood there and watched the whole violent mess. Just hearing his voice brought it all back with a sickening rush to the stomach.

John couldn't catch his breath. " tell us...and you.."

Pete rose stiffly and wiped his sweating face with the back of a hairy arm. "Slow down. What?"

John shuddered to a stop before him, gasping. "An angel! Really! A real one! He said...said, 'Go tell the disciples... and Peter...that he is risen! He rose, Pete! Just like he said he would!"

A trembling began somewhere inside Pete's soul. It wasn't even the word "risen." Somehow he should have known about that, if he'd been paying more attention. It was the other word, that phrase that made hot tears spring to his eyes.

"Say...say it again." He swallowed hard. "This angel...who'd he say to tell?"

John grinned in that knowing way he had. John always seemed to catch on before anybody else. "Yeah, that's exactly what he said: 'Tell the disciples...and Peter.' He specifically mentioned you."

A wave of nausea washed over Peter and he sank back on his haunches. "He did. He said that?"

The disciples. And Peter.

He knew. He knew Peter no longer considered himself one of them. Was no longer worthy of the honor. Even in death, the Teacher was thinking about everyone else.

So that's what that last look had meant. It wasn't disappointment. It was forgiveness.

Peter inhaled sharply as he stood and threw the nets aside. "Okay then."

Hope rushed through his being like warm spring water. Like he'd taken a first breath after three days without oxygen.
He smiled through his crusty beard for the first time in days and clapped John hard on the shoulder.

"Okay then. Let's gather the other guys and go see this angel!"
(Mark 16:7)

Have you failed God? Your friends? Yourself?

That look God is giving you is not disappointment. It's forgiveness.
He's calling you by name.

He's the God of another chance.

No comments: