Near the end of Jesus' life comes Peter's infamous denials, about which much has been said and written. I think it's inaccurate to take it as an example of Peter's cowardice, though. Peter was bold and decisive when things were going down the way he expected, when he was defending Jesus to the death with a sword. It was when Jesus rebuked him and took everything in a totally different direction that Peter was thrown off his game and lost his nerve. From his confusion came his shameful denials. How easy is it to lose our self-assured bravery when we're faced with something we weren't expecting. Shouldn't bravery hold the same no matter what needs to be confronted? Unfortunately, no.
As we're in this partnership development process, there are a lot of unknowns for us. It's very unsettling, probably the most unsettling place we've ever been in our lives. We don't know when we'll be able to go, how fast to get ready, what to expect month-to-month, or very much of what our future holds. In fact, things have already turned out somewhat different from what we were expecting and hoping when we started. It was easy to be brave when we first made the decision to strike off into the unknown, but now bravery feels a lot different in the day-to-day struggles and uncertainties that plague us. I think it's important to have the mindset that I'll follow Jesus no matter what happens, not only when I think I know what's going to happen. It's hard to be brave even in the face of a complete shattering of my expectations, as happened to Peter here. I think doing so is an important part of living out my appropriate relationship to God: as an obedient, humble servant.