“If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
I’ve found myself struggling with this quite a bit lately. I have frequently chosen to focus on what God is doing in others’ lives, feeling “left out” or unheard by Him. I know the truth cognitively – God has promised to never leave me nor forsake me. However, experientially I feel differently. As a result, I don’t live by what I know to be true. It’s a battle.
I have come to realize that comparison is the death of contentment. Life can be all that I want it to be, but if another comes along with a shinier, brighter, new life – envy sets in.
In this passage, Peter just had this amazing conversation with the Lord, in which Christ restores him, giving Peter hints of his life to come and usefulness in God’s kingdom. This intimate time comes after Peter’s bitter denial (three times) of Christ before His crucifixion and after Christ’s resurrection. In this dialogue, we would perhaps expect Peter’s response to be gratefulness, excitement, relief, etc. over Christ’s willingness to forgive and restore him. Instead, “Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them…When Peter saw him, he asked ‘Lord, what about him?’”
And, that’s where it all falls apart for me. I turn my head and my eyes from their gaze on the Lord, turn aside, see someone else’s life, experience, ministry, “stuff”, and I ask “What about them?”
Truth is, my life is challenging enough without adding someone else’s drama to the mix. I don’t know their story. Peter had no way of knowing that John would end up spending years in exile on the isle of Patmos.
My challenge is to keep my eyes on my own paper. Stay in my story that was penned by Him. I have no idea what the next chapter holds. However in the meantime, as he exhorted Peter, I must follow Him.
Striving to Follow,