A prudent man sees danger and seeks refuge
but the simple keep going and suffer for it. – Proverbs 22:3
There are signs to see and choices to make early on that make a difference on how things go with us. Whether in times of success or challenge, celebration or sorrow; paying attention is important. This wisdom of seeing the sign of danger and taking refuge is welcomed counsel.
Jesus and Peter have an interesting encounter with each other that comes to mind. The story is in Matthew 16:21-28. Peter has accepted and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God (Matthew 16:15-16); he believes! But as soon as Jesus starts sharing what is about to happen to him, Peter refuses to accept it. Jesus mentions suffering and Peter baulks.
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” – Matthew 16:21-22
The rebuke from Jesus is clear: “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block for me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” – Matthew 16:23
Jesus recognizes the danger of this moment and he seeks refuge in God’s plan. There’s a danger for Jesus. Avoiding the suffering that is between this moment and the resurrection would change everything. There is a danger for Peter; his faith journey is at risk. If Peter begins to think he knows how things should go better than Jesus, he will never experience the miracles of God on earth. His faith journey will be stunted by the refusal to surrender to God’s way in any situation.
Jesus sees the danger and immediately makes a choice. His refuge is not hiding; his refuge is in God. He turns away from Peter’s enticing plan to avoid the whole mess. He turns toward what God has revealed to him and the path he must walk. Christ’s response in this moment also prevents Peter’s faith journey from being wrecked and sidelined.
What are you seeing?
God of wisdom and mercy, please give us wisdom to see, even when our eyes fail us. Your wisdom and discernment are the guardrails that guide and protect us from paths of destruction. Thank you for the many ways you show up beside us and shine light on our path! We need you and we welcome you to direct our paths. Amen.