I mentioned a couple of times last week that I went to Fish Fest with my friend A and saw Third Day, my favorite Christian band. When we arrived at the concert, the band Above the Golden State was playing. I had never heard of them, but they sounded pretty good as we walked around checking out the food and other vendor booths. They ended their set with a wonderful rendition of “I’ll Fly Away,” one of my favorite old hymns.
I decided right then I wanted to check out their CD and see if they had recorded it. Unfortunately, their CD didn’t have “I’ll Fly Away,” but it was only $10 so I thought I’d give it a try. I am so glad I did because I love it!
The first time I listened to the CD was at work while I was doing something that didn’t take a lot of focused thought, but had to be done. I hardly ever listen to music at work, but this was one of those rare opportunities when I could. I was quite enjoying the CD playing in the background but wasn’t really paying attention to the lyrics, until the eleventh song came on. It has become my favorite song on the CD and is called “The Haunting.”
The line that first caught my attention was “Your mercy haunts me every night / In a dream.” Then I listened closer to all the lyrics and was enthralled by how wonderfully it was written. For the past few days it has been running through my head often.
I love how this song captures the feelings Peter must have had as he stood just a “stone’s throw away” from Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. It never really occurred to me that Peter, James, and John saw Jesus’ agony and heard His plea to the Father to take His cup of suffering from Him. They were right there, witnesses to the beginning of His passion.
All He asked was that they stay there and pray, and they wanted to, but they were so tired. They just couldn’t keep awake. I thought of all the times He has asked me to pray, when I have known that prayer was so important in the face of some trial, but I was so tired I simply fell asleep instead.
For Peter, the outcome of his failure to pray was that he denied Christ because his flesh was weak and fear overtook him. “This man is not my friend,” he said. He knew it was a lie, because the mercy of Jesus haunted him. Yet three times the denial came, just as Jesus had predicted. Those nights after the crucifixion, the mercy of Jesus must truly have haunted Peter’s dreams.
I think back on my own life wondering what weaknesses and fears have overtaken me because I failed to pray, choosing sleep instead. Were there times I should have stood up and claimed Jesus as my Lord and Savior, even as my friend, but did not? Perhaps, even if only by my silence when boldness escaped me. Then I remember that it doesn’t matter. Just as Jesus kept asking Peter for his loyalty – “Peter, do you love Me?” – and restored Peter for each denial, He has restored me. And I know I will follow Him until I reach the end. I would be lost without Him.