Times when I feel that I have failed in what He wishes, His voice reaches deeply into my failure. Quietly and gently it moves within my heart. “Do you love me?” He asks.
I might as well be Peter at the water's edge, leaning over a bed of hot coals, rubbing, warming my hands, and remembering the three times of failing Him when He needed me. “Yes, Lord, you know I love you,” I attempt.
“Do you love me?” He says it again exposing my shame.
“Lord, you know I love you.” I repeat, my failure ringing even louder.
“Do you love me?” He repeats slowly and firmly.
“Yes, Lord, I love you.” My failure is completely before me, binding my heart in its grasp.
“If you love me,” He pauses for a moment. I feel His touch, lifting my chin to peer into eyes that also once burned into Peter’s. It is at this moment the failure is gone, and I, lost in His gaze, overwhelmed by His love, know I have been forgiven. “Feed my sheep,” He whispers.
“Feed my sheep” rings in my soul. I know what He wishes for me, but I am always aware of how I fail in His desire for my life. I never feel that I give Him enough of myself because I focus on my failure and not on Him. Now I try again. I wait for words to form in my heart and in my mind. I pray that they will be His words and not my own.
As He has loved, so must I love through each word I speak or write. I am to inspire others to love—His child with little hope, the one who offends, the woman lost in her failure, the man deep in sin. We are just as Peter. The redeeming love that looked beyond Peter’s failure, and called for His best, also calls for ours. Jesus reaches beyond our failure and sees us with His vision. In tenderness He brings each of us to our place of failure and forgives. Once more He calls for our potential.“If you love me, feed my sheep,” He whispers.