And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

Mark 14:72

You don’t always know what God is up to until you see the big picture.

As Peter wept there thinking of how he just denied Jesus, one must wonder: What was in Jesus’ mind when he told Peter that he would fail him?

If you remember, when Jesus told his disciples that he would die alone, Peter had declared confidently “I would never deny you!” 

Jesus would have none of it. 

He could already see deep into Peter’s heart. He could already see that his words were greater than the contents within his heart. And it was precisely the content within Peter’s heart that Jesus wanted him to see.

While Peter denied Jesus three times, Peter was simply tested at the juncture between survival and love.

Everyone can say they love something or someone but three times Peter was faced with the prospects of saving his own skin versus declaring his love for the One who was at the time held on trial and condemned to death.

Three times he chose survival over love. And three times was the time allotted by the all-wise Jesus necessary for Peter to see something he didn’t see before.

As he wept there, he could now see the limits of his heart love for God and what lay in the way. Jesus, who was full of love, could handle the rejection of his most trusted disciple. But it was an irreplaceable lesson taught to Peter that day about the love truly in his heart.

Why does God let you fail?

God lets your fail because he wants you to see what borders lie in your heart. 

In failure, we are deeply humbled. In failure, we are forced to look into the mirror. Jesus had let Peter fail deliberately. He let him fail graciously.

From that day on, Peter became a different man. One can only grow when they know themselves for where they are. They can only take the next step once they recognize where they are. Failure is a trusted tool that God uses to teach you where you currently are.

From that day on Peter crossed a border in his heart he would never need to cross again. He would never decide survival over his consuming love for God as he led the early church, yes, even to his death. 

Dealing when God lets you fail is a painful process. But like Peter, assess with the Holy Spirit what he is teaching you about what lies within. For what lies within is of great interest to the one who is watching over the destiny of your life.

Lord, help us to see your hand in our lives when we fail. Even though we know in our failure, you catch us, there are lessons to be learned from that time. Those are lessons that help us cross the own borders in our heart to become the people you call us to be. Give us strength and wisdom to see those borders. Amen.