Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
“Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Matt. 16:22 NIV
Lord Jesus, “Never, Lord!”—those two words just don’t belong together, ever. Yet, like Peter, we often match them up.
When you tell us our need of salvation is so great our only hope is the Gospel of God’s grace—yet we persist in trying to work and deserve our way into heaven, we pull you aside, rebuke you, and say, “Never, Lord! You haven’t done quite enough. We need to ‘hedge’ our bets a bit.”
When you assure us, your grace is sufficient for our hardest stories—even for pandemics and deathbeds; and that your strength is made perfect in our weakness, yet we persist in fear, anxiety, and unbelief, we declare, “Never, Lord! Your grace won’t be quite enough for this. God helps those who help themselves.”
When you call us to live and love neighborly and missionally—to hoard less and give more, yet we choose lesser stories of selfishness and survival, our actions proclaim, “Never, Lord! Your glory is not as important as our wellbeing and happiness.”
When you command us to forgive others as you’ve forgiven us, yet we hold on to resentment and bitterness, in essence, we are saying, “Never, Lord! You don’t understand how much they hurt me. I’m worthier of your mercy and grace than they are.”
Lord Jesus, “Yes!” A thousand times “YES!” to whatever you have declared, determined, and desire for the rest of our lives. When we resist your will for us, take us aside and rebuke us with Gospel-riches, hourly if need be. So very Amen we pray, in your most wonderful and awe-worthy name.