Posted by: mikenicholsblog | January 9, 2011

beyond chapter twenty-six

You could call me a cell phone failure, and have every reason to do so. Cell phones have become such a valued object in all of our lives. As proof, just last year, my eighty-seven year old mother-in-law joined the fraternity of users.  But oh the value I’ve lost or cost myself in this age of cell phones.

As someone who depends on his phone for both work and pleasure, I must admit that cell phones have been a source of great irritation to me. In the last ten years, I have dropped (and lost) a phone on Park Ave. in New York City (My daughter was deeply amused that I thought I could go back and retrieve it)! Then I left my phone at an airport in Chattanooga at 4:30 in the morning. I have dropped a cell phone in water (it died), called people countless times on my Blackberry without knowing it, and had my phone decide that it wouldn’t work on numerous trips to Florida. So color me a failure. Just this morning, I read about another failure. You may have heard of him … His name is Peter.

Usually when reading Matthew chapter twenty-six, the garden of Gethsemane takes center stage, and with good reason. Peter’s life also happens to be scattered amongst the verses, and not in a flattering way. His weakness abounds and resounds. Talk about failure! Take a glimpse at how bad this chapter was for him.

Matthew 26
…Peter declared that he would never disown Christ.

…Peter and two other disciples were sleeping during the critical time for Christ in Gethsemane.

…When Christ was arrested, Peter reacted with a sword and cut off the ear of Malchus.

…He and the other disciples deserted Christ.

…Before the rooster crowed the morning after his bold declaration, Peter had denied Christ three times.

Thank goodness Peter’s story did not end in chapter twenty-six. He was restored, and used of Christ to dramatically impact the world. Peter preached and 3,000 were saved at Pentecost. God used Peter to open the door of the gospel to the Gentiles. He wrote two epistles in the New Testament. Church history records that he was crucified upside down because he did not feel worthy to be crucified as His Savior was. On the one hand, we see his incredible failure. But then we are blessed to see how God can forgive, restore and use someone fully devoted to Him.

You may not be as brash as Peter, or as cell phone challenged as me, but I am sure you struggle with failure. Repeatedly, you are reminded of your weaknesses. And you may even have some “twenty-six” type chapters in your life. Whether our failures are public or private, they can cause us to lose effectiveness for the Savior. But I am here to tell you that God can handle your weakness and failures, and can use them for His good and your growth. Peter could have just pulled back, or run away after denying Christ. But for the cause of Christ, and because of God’s incredible grace and love, Peter ended his story well. And no matter how deep and numerous our failures are, our story can end well too.

Tomorrow, next month, and next year, I’ll have some cell phone frustrations. Failure will be part of the story we all write. But it should never be the end of the story. Peter’s life moved beyond chapter twenty-six. Whatever holds you back from effectiveness for Christ can be overcome. Determine that your next chapter will be filled with growing deeper in love with the Father, and with others. Confess, submit and then live in the freedom of God’s forgiveness, grace and love!

By the way, I wonder what Peter would have done with a cell phone?!


  1. thats funny and very much applicable to many of us

    thanks for sharing

  2. Peter’s cell phone would have got ruined when he sunk while trying to walk on the water.
    I can relate.

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