Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.“
I don’t know about you, but 2020 has been brutal. Do you remember Watch Night Services all over the country on New Year’s Eve 2019? I do, 2020 Vision; 2020 Provisions; Moving into the Land of Plenty in 2020; Reaching My Destiny in 2020. Most could not wait until 2020; but I tell you that it has been difficult to see any of those through what we’ve witnessed in the first 8 months of the year. An unseen virus (COVID 19) that has taken more than 183,000 lives in this country. It decimated a dynamic US economy and record number of people now unemployed. Schools shutdown; businesses closed; the whole world went into quarantine. For days, weeks, and even months families remained inside relegated to maybe a grocery store. How could this be a prosperous year when all these things are happening??
If you are Black in America, this has been a devastatingly tragic year. Black people have been dying at 3 times the amount of everyone else. Young black men being gunned down both by Police and vigilantes attempting to take the law into their own hands. Thankfully these acts were captured on video and shown globally; which has led to outrage and protest all over the world for social injustice, rivaling only what was seen back in the 60’s. For the first time in history the condemning and disgust of racism and inequality has been shared by more people than ever before. As if that was not enough, we’ve seen the deaths of very prominent Black Icons in Congress, Sports and Entertainment; the great John Lewis, a trailblazer for civil rights; the relentless Kobe Bryant, a role model for so many; Big John Thompson Jr., Legendary Coach (First Black Coach to Win a NCAA Championship opening the door for all of the Black Head Coaches today) and most recently the incomparable Chadwick Boseman who portrayed Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, James Brown and of course King T’Challa of Black Panther fame. With all the death in the Black Community I can personally tell you I’m so ready for this period to end.
The reason I selected this scripture though is because Peter while hearing what Jesus said to all His disciples, but Peter could only see the negative and its impact on him; while not being able to see God’s purpose filled plan for the redemption of the world. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” Peter cracks me up because I see a lot of his Sanguine in myself. I can see how he brazenly pulled Jesus to the side to tell him that he knew better than the Christ. I know that I’ve been that arrogant before, how about you?
Anyway, it is Jesus’ response that I want to focus on today. But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” He ordered Peter behind him, not physically but Peter’s influence. He could not be moved by what Peter was saying because it would negatively impact His purpose. Which would have ultimately impacted all our futures. Jesus call Peter an offense; the term means a snare or a stumbling block. I believe that if we are not careful, we will allow the death, injustice and economic downfall to hinder us from the purpose of God during this time. What is the purpose of all this you ask? I do not know, but what I do know is that there has been some incredible growth that has happened during this year.
Whether it be the time I’ve had to spend with my family, certainly seeing them more due to working from home as opposed to being gone and traveling often; or getting to know my teenagers a bit better especially at a time when they are in high school soon to be out of the house, or my little person who is no longer little but going into middle school. Even the time spent with my wife being able to appreciate much of what she does every day and also dealing with the areas of improvement need in order for us to continue growing together. Probably the most import has been me being as my son’s latest album (found on all platforms) is titled, “True to Myself.” Dealing with the issues that I have been able to ignore because of the business of life and ability to mask when so many others are around. Yet, when you’re in isolation, they must be dealt with. These are all positive things that have come out of this tumultuous time we find ourselves in.
I’m pretty sure that because we have not been mindful of the things of God, we’ve been exposed to the may ugly truths that our country and world have been experiencing. I will be honest 2020 has made me sad, furious, empathetic, emotional, helpless and even rageful. But as much as I am ready for it to leave, to just go and be over, I’ve learned that what I want most out of the is to learn what are in God’s plan for me, as well as what things God wants to purge from me. I hope that you to will at some point be able to look beyond the hurt and the pain to see God. Just as God was not in all the chaos when taking to Elijah; “1 Kings 19:12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice,” He was in the still small voice. Are you able to hear the still small voice over the hurt and pain of 2020?