Tigers are my favorite animals. I am attracted to their colors, elegant movements and the fierceness in the way they protect their territory, whether it is the land they hunt or their family. They are built for power and are a symbol of strength and courage. Oh and yes there is no distinction between male and female in their color or demeanor. Both are just as fierce and dominant, which makes them an equal opportunity couple. Recently, I completed a jigsaw puzzle of a close-up photo of a tiger’s face. It was one of the most difficult 1000-piece puzzles I have ever done as well as the most beautiful. It took true persistence for me to finish it. Many times I walked away and threatened to quit. However I persisted! Weeks after finishing it, I decided to glue it together to create a work of art to hang on my wall. As I write this blog, I am looking into her eyes and the courage hiding deep within their depths. I believe this courage is one of the reasons why I am so drawn to this animal.
I bring this up because I have been reading about a very flawed character named the Simon Peter. He was one of Jesus’ disciples who at times was both impetuous with his words and actions. He is my kind of guy! If you are not aware, Peter was the disciple who was the first to jump out of the boat and walk on water, rushed to say that he would die for Jesus just hours before he betrayed his friend and teacher. In one of their many conversations Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was and guess what… Peter blurted out that Jesus was the “Christ, the Son of the living God,” to which Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it,”(Matt.16: 17-18). In that moment, Jesus gave Peter a new name, “rock” because he would be the foundation for the church or the mission and message of the cross and resurrection. What? The impulsive Peter would be the foundation for Christ’s church? Peter was a man who made some grave missteps in his life and yet God would use him to be the founding father of the church. Unbelievably God didn’t give up on Peter even though he had denied his Son Jesus but forgave him. Isn’t that a message we all want to hear? That it doesn’t matter who we are, how much money we have, what color our skin is or how many missteps we have made, God doesn’t give up on us either. Even though Simon Peter was a flawed character, he lived up to his nickname, the rock, the foundation of the Christian movement. Now that took real courage!