Equipped by Failure
Strength out of Weakness
“When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”
Peter was not to be lost in the terrible experience through which he was to pass. Christ had made intercession for him, and he would come again from the trial humbled, bruised, defeated, but saved, and a better man. Our Lord tells him here that after his restoration he should turn his experience to account in helping other souls. “Do thou, when once thou hast turned again, stablish thy brethren.” He would be able then to warn others of the dangers in which he had suffered so terribly. We can imagine Peter in after days counselling Christians against self-confidence and the other false steps which led to his own fall, and thus strengthening or stablishing them in safe ways. Then there is no doubt that his experience of penitence, and of the grace and love of Christ in that experience, enabled him to be a wise and safe guide to many another disciple who had fallen into sin and was seeking to be restored.
The lesson is important. All the lessons that God teaches us we should teach others. When we are helped it is that we may then help others. When God comforts us in any sorrow, He thereby ordains us to go forth to comfort others with the comfort wherewith we ourselves have been comforted of God. When we fall in temptation, and God lifts us up and restores us, He wants us to use our experience in helping other weak ones in their temptations.
O lead me, Lord, that I may lead
The wandering and the wavering feet;
O feed me, Lord, that I may feed
Thy hungering ones with manna sweet.
O strengthen me, that while I stand
Firm on the rock, and strong in thee,
I may stretch out a loving hand
To wrestlers with the troubled sea.
(Taken from "Come Ye Apart" by J.R. Miller)
Note: When we are in trouble we do not gravitate to the one whose face is all shiny and whose eyes do not reflect the wisdom of dark journeys. Rather we seek out the helper whose set jaw suggests an audacity from weathering storms, and whose eyes seem to say, "Yes, I know, but you must stay the course. You will yet praise Him."
Look at a portion of Second Corinthians Chapter One taken from "The Message":
3-5All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.
6-7When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you're just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you're going to make it, no doubt about it.