Following where You Do Not Wish to Go

This funny picture from ASBO Jesus represents how I sometimes feel about following the Lord. In the last chapter of John's gospel Jesus says this prophetically to his friend Peter:
"Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go."
Sometimes life is like that isn't it? Sometimes we like Peter find ourselves living out a future that we had not ever imagined. Jesus continues his thought to Peter with just two words:
Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He *said to him, "Follow Me!"
Oh my.. did you catch that.. it is like Jesus is saying to his friend that He knows hard times will come.. even imprisonment.. even death.. in spite of all that Jesus tell Peter to simply "Follow Me!"  Of course, Peter now understands where following God has led Jesus.. he witnessed Jesus' prayer in the garden.. he heard Him beg the Father to let the cup pass.. he heard Him say "Not my will but yours be done".. Peter had counted the cost of following Jesus.. and yet he still pressed Jesus by asking this about his friend John:
So Peter seeing him *said to Jesus, "Lord, and what about this man?"
His answer to Peter is brutally frank:
Jesus said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!"
Ouch! Nothing like God to put you in your place and help you to understand your role in the relationship.. it is a very difficult directive but one that I believe leads us to a place of peace about our circumstances.

When I think about my life it is so easy to go to the "woulda shoulda" places and bemoan what might have been or what could be - I sometimes forget about how Peter and all of the Apostles save John died.. I forget that Jesus' promise to them and to me is to never leave or forsake us when we follow Him in places where we do not wish to go.

Knowing that truth calms me and produces a sense of contentment in my life. Sometimes life happens and we find ourselves in a place where we never dreamed we would be. In seasons like that it is good to know that God has providentially brought us to these places and His promise stands - He is with us.. even in those places where we do not wish to go.


  1. Just like Joseph, who was thrown in the pit, and... and....and, but yet God's plan for Joseph was unfolding through it all. We have to trust God through the bad times and the good times. None of it takes God by surprise. Granted, easier to do in the good times :o)

  2. Yeah... sometimes we are led to believe that the Christian life is all about fulfillment and Jesus making me happy. The truth is something deeper and different.

  3. @Susan - Yes - trust is the key!

    @Mike - that last sentence is so insightful.. great thought!!

  4. Quite a statement for Jesus to just say, "Follow me." But He can say that because the temporary suffering is still nothing compared to the eternal loss of one's soul. Sometimes I wonder if the greatest torment of hell will be knowing what could have been, as we have stood before Him in judgement and then are cast out.


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