“…’Very truly I tell you, when you were younger
you dressed yourself and went where you wanted;
but when you are old you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.’”
John 21:18 (NIV)
“Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, ‘Follow me!’” John 21:19 (NIV)
Our verses today tell the story of our Lord prophesying about how Peter would die. It was the Lord’s sovereign will that Peter would die as a martyr for his faith. The execution of Peter would in some way glorify the Lord.
How can we honour and glorify the Lord when we are in tragic situations? All of us can exalt the Lord and sing praise to Him when things go well for us. In fact, when one believer tells another about their narrow escape from a life threatening situation, the listener may well say “Praise the Lord!”
Now when the Lord blesses us—with a return to health, the healing of a relationship, a new and better job—it is right to praise the Lord. We should be glad and thankful. But what is to be our attitude and activity when the roof caves in, when everything goes wrong? The Bibles says in James 1:2-3 (NIV)
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance…”
Scripture points the person in pain to the benefits that inevitably come to him because of the time of testing. James speaks of perseverance coming through the time of testing. Our Lord assured Peter that He would be honoured by Peter’s way of dying. The trust in Jesus exhibited by Peter—quietly enduring such a martyr’s death—spoke volumes to the people witnessing the event.
Can you take whatever is troubling you and offer it as a sacrifice to the Lord? Are you willing to honour Jesus by whatever suffering you receive as you trust Him when you do not understand Him? Such a manner in sorrow glorifies the Lord. Your gentle submission to pain for His sake is better than a thousand times of you praising Him for blessing you. Can you bow your head in the dark times and say with Jesus, Matthew 11:26 (NIV)
“Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.”?
Now that honours the Lord and will never lose its reward.