“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:61-62 (ESV)
When we discuss conflict in our marriage small group, my husband will ask each spouse, “What are your ‘trigger words’?”
We often associate a trigger with some type of ammunition. A trigger word has a similar effect, in that it has the ability to set something off. No matter who you are, married or not, we all have particular words that might not start a fight on the outside, but something still hits us wrong on the inside.
I have my own trigger word. When I hear this word, even in casual conversation, my heart immediately drops and sometimes, I tear up. It reminds me of a part of my life that didn’t turn out how I thought it would. The word may be insignificant to most people, but for me, it’s a constant admonition of how I disappointed the people closest to me.
Everyone’s trigger is different, but oftentimes it’s something that moves us to tears.
In the New Testament, we read about Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples but also the one who betrayed Him.
After Jesus was arrested, Peter denied knowing Him, not just once, but three times. It happened just as Jesus said it would: “… while he [Peter] was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:60b-62).
In my hometown, it’s not very likely to hear a rooster crowing. In rural Israel, it might have been a more common occurrence. Apparently, it happens every morning — and maybe even more often than that.
Can you imagine what Peter must have felt every time he heard a rooster crow? His mind must have wandered back to that night when things didn’t go how he said it would. He was the one who said he would be with Jesus until the end! Each morning, when the rooster woke up the sleeping town, was he reminded how deeply he disappointed his Lord?
Yet just days after the resurrection, Jesus had a one-on-one conversation with Peter, instructing him to “Feed My sheep” (John 21:17c, ESV).
God still had plans for Peter. And He still has plans for me and you.
In Acts chapter 2, Peter returns to the scene, except this isn’t the same man who ran away. Instead, he stood boldly and addressed the crowd.
On this particular morning, I wonder if he heard a rooster crow in the distance, suggesting to him that he was the last person in the world who should be proclaiming the gospel. If he did hear it, he didn’t let it stop him. He kept on that day … and the day after that … and for many days to follow.
Whatever our greatest heartaches or regrets, we can turn them over to the One who gives “beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:3, NIV).
That moment the rooster crowed didn’t define Peter. The moments with Jesus did.
Dear Heavenly Father, I sometimes struggle with mistakes I have made, so I ask You would heal that part of my heart. I am thankful my past is forgiven and my future is secure — You still have plans for me! I want You to be glorified in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
2 Corinthians 12:9, “but He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough — always available — regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.’ Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.” (AMP)
Ephesians 1:18, “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called — his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.” (NLT)
Uncertain times can create anxiety. If you’re feeling a heightened sense of concern about what tomorrow might bring, we invite you to listen to the Proverbs 31 Ministries Podcast episode titled Therapy and Theology: Dealing with Anxiety. In this episode, Lysa TerKeurst and her licensed professional counselor discuss how to address anxiety in a healthy way.
You can find more everyday encouragement from today’s author, Anitha Abraham, where she regularly blogs, here.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
Write down your trigger words along with what truth God says about it in His Word. (You can use a Bible website or concordance to look up the topic.)
What was a defining moment with Jesus that changed the trajectory of your life? Share your story with us in the comments!
© 2020 by Anitha Abraham. All rights reserved.