And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
Jesus can only do so much for us until it gets to the point where we make our own choices. He has prayed. He has given His Word and His warnings. He is with us as a source we can ask for help. But then we go out and live our lives by our own free will. We choose whether to obey God, whether to seek His help, whether to humble ourselves and heed His warnings. We choose whether to believe Him or to believe in ourselves. We choose how closely we walk with Him and which direction we go if He goes one way and we want to go another.
Jesus is God, but He does not make our decisions for us. He knows what He wants for us, but we must trust Him and surrender to Him or else face the consequences of going our own way, as Peter demonstrates for us so clearly. Peter thought he knew himself, but Jesus knew him so much better. Peter thought he knew what he was capable of, what he would or would not do. But Jesus could see his future long before he ever got there.
Peter did make a mistake. He made a wrong choice or maybe even a series of wrong choices that led him to a regrettable place. But Jesus also saw beyond that mistake to the moment when Peter was restored and served Him faithfully as a leader in the church, a preacher of the Gospel, someone who would become unashamed to declare the name of Jesus no matter what it cost him.
Jesus knows what is in store for each of us. He knows our future and He knows our hearts. He’s prepared us as best He could. He prays for us. He’s given His Word. We have His Spirit within us to guide our paths and help us make right decisions. But it’s up to us to follow. Even as He knows how we will fail Him, He loves us still and wants to helps us. So may we seek as much as possible to follow the path He wants us to take, even while understanding there is grace and mercy when we do make the wrong choice.