The Wounding of God’s Servants

“God’s Wounding of His servants”

The wounding of Peter is graphically told in all four Gospels.  The night it happened was according to Jesus’ description — “…the hour – when darkness reigns” (Luke 22:53).  As the dark and devilish events unfolded through the night, the spiritual darkness became ever darker.  For Peter and the other disciples, the darkness must have felt like the eerie blackness that precedes the approach of a spiralling tornado bearing down upon them with unstoppable and frightening force.Jesus had warned Peter some hours previously of the wounding he was about to suffer.  It would touch the sinew of Peter’s strength: his boldness and assertiveness.  Certainly Jesus recognised this as strength in Peter.  He saw how these would become true strengths… but only after the wounding had done its perfect work in Peter’s innermost being.

On that dark night of the soul, Peter seemed totally oblivious to the weakness lying imbedded in his human strength.  He wasn’t shaky in his confession of Jesus.  In Peter’s confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” lay the foundation for the confession of all true followers of Jesus.  He was committed to Jesus no matter what.  Nor was he backward in coming forward to voice his resolute determination to stick by Jesus through thick and thin: “Even if all of Your other disciples deny You, Master, you can depend on me!  I’ll hang in there with You to the end!”  Yes, he did do just that… but again, only after the wounding.

Even that night of Jesus’ capture, Peter kept his word.  He wasn’t in hiding with the other disciples (except John) in fear of their lives.  He was close to the action, even if hoping to remain anonymously in the background.  But Peter with his loyalty to Jesus and his natural courage was now about to be sifted as wheat by the enemy using some very minor players in this unfolding drama.

Up until this moment in his association with Jesus, Peter had Jesus by his side whenever there was some form of spiritual confrontation with the powers of darkness.  Now Peter, the Braveheart, was on his own.  He believed he could do it!  Who knows – he might even have entertained the thought that Jesus might need his help at some moment in the proceedings of that dreadful night.

Suddenly the eagle of darkness swooped down and caught unsuspecting and unprepared Peter in its talons.  The wounding was about to be inflicted according to the Father’s loving plan.  The plan:  to break his brave heart so that He could give Peter the gift of a broken and contrite heart – both for Peter’s own good but also for the sake of God’s kingdom.  In this way, God would turn Peter’s real weakness of character into a great strength, empowering him in a very special way for the mission that God had prepared for him in the coming decades.

Following that night, Peter would bear in his spirit the scar from his shameful denial of his Master – but a scar that had been healed so caringly by His Master in that beautiful post-resurrection meeting between Jesus and His beloved disciple.

Are we different from Peter?  Dare we think that our devotion to Jesus is already faultless?  Don’t we all need God’s wounding at some points in our lives?   Are there not in all of our lives, even the most experienced Christian workers among us, those character weaknesses we fail to recognise or some area where we want God to just leave us as we are – perhaps some hidden sin we want to hold on to?  At these very points we may anticipate God’s loving, gracious wounding work to take place –at a time when like Peter we fail to see the prince of darkness making his move towards us.

It could also be that we may be thinking to ourselves: I think I’ve already learned enough through the woundings God has worked into my life.  Or deep in our hearts we may be pleading: “Lord, please, no more!”  But we can’t pray that kind of prayer if our longing is to bear much fruit in our lives and ministry for our beloved Master.  Rather breathe this prayer: “Lord Jesus, whatever will make me more like You, I’m ready … but please, dear Master, keep watch over my heart lest Satan use Your wounding to convince me that You no longer love me.”

Let us never fear God’s gracious wounding.  Rather fear lest we harden our hearts against His wounding at some point of perceived natural strength.  For without that wounding, that strength in truth is a weakness that hinders God’s greater work through us.

Equip & Encourage International

Graham & Frieda Roberts

September 29, 2003

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