I listened as my friend recounted the story of seeing her toddler at her swim lessons. A local instructor teaches children of all ages to be comfortable in the water and how to float and swim. And for moms and dads, it can be terrifying to watch.
“She was in the water and the instructor was holding her, and then, she let her go.” Tears came to her eyes as she recalled what she felt that day. “I saw her struggle just the tiniest bit and immediately, I wanted to run and dive into that pool and save her! I kept thinking, a mother knows what’s best. This instructor must be doing it wrong! Why would she let her do that?”
As she watched, she saw her child begin to move her hands and feet and soon was on her back floating. The child wasn’t panicking, but instead was doing just as the instructor had taught her.
At the poolside, the mother sank to her knees and sobbed. The instructor shared with her how important it was to allow the child to go through those moments. Even though it felt like torture to the parents, it was necessary.
“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Matthew 16:21-23)
Jesus is predicting His death for the first time in these scriptures. But His disciples don’t understand. In fact, Peter boldly stands up and proclaims that there is no way that would happen. Peter had assumed the role as Jesus’ bodyguard, protecting Him from mobs and situations they thought might lead to trouble for his friend. Peter couldn’t let his friend suffer or die. He would protect him.
But Jesus sternly tells Peter he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He says “for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” In other words, Jesus tells him, you’re only seeing this from man’s perspective, not from what God has planned. God’s ways are not our ways. It was only natural for Peter to try to save his friend, but he didn’t understand the depth of the situation. He didn’t realize how necessary the struggles and the death of Jesus would be.
Peter’s words were like a temptation for Jesus to not have to go through what was to come. But look at how bold Jesus’ words were. He said “Get thee behind me Satan.”
We don’t always understand God’s plan. We don’t like to see our friends or family struggle or suffer, but it’s important to remember, God’s got this. He is in control. His ways are far above ours. Far be it for me to interfere with His perfect plan.
Maybe you have a friend or a family member, or even you are dealing with some tough issues. Instead of jumping in and trying to fix the situation, pray that the Lord would show you how to comfort and what to offer in the way of help. For someone who wants to fix things immediately, or jump right in with MY plan, this is definitely hard for me.
Let’s take a step back and pray for the Lord to guide us and provide exactly what’s needed for His perfect will.