Have you met your perfect storm?
Have you ever faced a trial that seemed made to order just to take you out. One that pushed all the right buttons in all the right places of your life. One that seemed to play on your every last weakness? Did you feel capsized? Did you wonder if you were going to drown? Did you ever face a trial that took you to the point that you realized that there just wasn't any use in playing anymore, trying to hide your pain behind a false smile or faith that you just weren't feeling at the moment? Were people disappointed that you didn't handle it with the strength they thought you should have? Did you feel judged?
Jesus faced his perfect storm. He faced it on his knees in the Garden of Gethsemane. I think that it is very interesting that he takes Peter, John and James with him to pray. The Word tells us He was deeply distressed and troubled, that He was in anguish, and that His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. He told His disciples that His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. When He finds the three disciples He chose to accompany Him asleep, it is Peter He addresses. Why just Peter? Peter the bold one, the brash one, the quick tempered and boastful, the one who swore never to disown Him? Is it because Christ knew Peter, of all the disciples, needed to see him at his lowest point of sorrow? Did Peter, more than any of the others need to see the 100% human of the 100% divine Christ?
No one likes to go through a storm. But I have learned that storms can leave behind some priceless gifts. The storms of my life gave me a whole new appreciation for grace. Now when I hear the word "grace" it flames up like a fire within my heart. When I sing about God being my strength, its as if every cell of my being is echoing the sentiment. We like to put people on pedestals and when they fail to live up to all we think they should be, we love to judge. Part of us feels betrayed, let down, and sometimes disillusioned. We ask ourselves, " How could they!?!"
Peter demanded a lot of himself, and many times people who demand a lot of themselves can be harsh judges of those around them. Perhaps that is why it was so important for Jesus to have Peter witness His agony in the Garden. Perhaps like Peter, we need to be a little less quick to judge those around us who fail to respond to life's trials with the outward appearance of strength that we think they should have . . . at least until we are sure we have already faced our own perfect storm.