Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
What would you do if you were plummeting to your death from a high-rise building? Would you look towards heaven with hope, or would your eyes be on the fast-approaching ground below?
No matter what, we look at something. Just ask the poor window cleaner when he fell six stories from a Wellington building in New Zealand on July 1, 2011. Or ask his boss, who watched the whole accident with a look of terror in his eyes. And that terror increased as the window cleaner's fall lined him up directly in the path of a car!
But he truly had nothing to fear. Yes, he fell pretty hard, partly on the ground and partly on the parked vehicle, and yes, it did hurt!
I can imagine that the owner had stopped looking by this time, scared death to open his eyes. But when he did, he was amazed to find the window cleaner still alive, and after a thorough check-up by the paramedics, it was confirmed that his only injury was a dislocated toe. Not bad after a six-story fall! Hopefully this window cleaner will be a bit less daring when cleaning windows in the future!
Imagine the shame in the eyes of Peter, Jesus' apostle, right after he had renounced his Master, not just once or twice, but three times! Right then, as the rooster crowed, Jesus "turned and looked straight at Peter." (Luke 22:60 NIV)
Oh that look must have been devastating! He had renounced the One he truly loved, and now that very person was looking at him with eyes filled with sheer--compassion!
Just hours before, Peter had boasted "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will." (Matt 26:33 NIV), yet barely seconds before that look, he had vehemently exclaimed: "I don't know the man!" (Matt 26:72 NIV)
No wonder "he went outside and wept bitterly." (Luke 22:62 NIV). He had betrayed everything he stood for. No wonder that his original name was Simon which implied "weak or fickle". Who could rely on such a failure?
Jesus, however, insisted on calling Simon "Peter", which means "rock". He went far beyond what others saw in Simon! The truth is that only Jesus, Simon's Master, could make a Peter out of Simon. True greatness can only come via the road of brokenness. In order for any of us to be able to shine as God wants us to shine, we need to experience total brokenness as well!
Look at Simon after resurrection day (R day). Just like the window cleaner realized that there were limits to being a dare-devil, Peter was a different man, aware of his own weaknesses. He was still broken, but he was restored when Jesus talked to him directly, letting him know in no uncertain terms that He had great plans for him (John 21: 15-19).
And shine he did on Pentecost day where he witnessed about the Risen One. "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day." (Acts 2:41 NIV)
If you do feel empty inside and unfulfilled, maybe it's time to let yourself go and let God come into your life. Remember greatness can only come through brokenness, for we can truly never be blessed with our hands full. Empty-handed we are ready to receive the gifts promised to us from above.
May our eyes always be geared towards heaven, no matter our circumstances.
Dear Lord, help us keep our eyes on You. No matter what we go through help not have fear in our eyes but a peace that only You can give. In Jesus’ Name.