31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Peter, when he hears that Jesus expects to die, pulls him aside. He wants Jesus to stop talking like that. Peter does not like this plan.
Jesus, for his part, strongly rebukes Peter. He tells Peter that Peter is more concerned about the things of men than the things of God.
Of course Jesus was right. His death was to be the means through which God would rescue all who are forgiven. Without Jesus going to the cross, we all go to hell. There is no hope for humanity without the sacrificial and substitutionary death of Jesus. So, Peter was speaking against a huge good even though there was a temporary and tragic hardship.
Now, here is the question: How often is this us? How often do we look at life, tell God how it should go, and never consider the things of God. There very well may be an eternal good present in a short-term hardship for us.
Perhaps we need for the Lord to remind us that, when we face pain and trouble, that he is in control. Perhaps we need for the Lord to remind us that his plans are bigger than our present comfort. Perhaps we need to have a lot more “your will be done” in our prayers than prayers begging not to face what looks difficult.
For sure, we need to talk to God honestly. We should make our requests known to God. But we also should recognize that not all our requests have eternal eyes. We also need to ask for eternal eyes to see that God is in control and that God will not lose.
So, will God turn America to himself? Maybe or maybe not. Either way, eternally, God will be glorified. Will God give my family health? I hope so, and I pray for it, but I need to know that his will is best. Will God grow our church? Maybe he will—I certainly ask him to—but I know that however large or small God’ makes our church, he will accomplish his will for his glory.
Lord, I pray for eternal eyes. Help me to think of the things of God more than the things of man. Help me not to be so limited in my perspective that I cannot see your hand at work, even in the hard things.