Hi, friends! Today I’d like to introduce my guest, Patricia Holbrook. Patricia was in my She Speaks Speaker Coaching Group last year, and I’m so happy she’s sharing her gift here today.
She Speaks, Proverbs 31’s annual conference for speakers and writers, is an amazing place to make connections with other women in ministry. There are less than 100 spots left for this year’s conference, so consider joining me there. I’d love to meet you in person!
Without further ado….here’s Patricia!
“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword.” V.52 (NLT)
“Put Away Your Sword, Peter!”
Those were the exact words I heard at 5:30 am one day last week. I was lying in bed, talking to the Father. I had been awake for less than five minutes when these words echoed in my mind, in the midst of my conversation with God. Like the impertinent friend of Luke 11, I was bringing my heart’s desire before the throne once again, together with a list of perfectly reasonable explanations as to why God should make it happen. RIGHT AWAY.
As I lay there, shocked and half asleep, the meaning of the reprimand became clear. Just as Peter in his hastiness (and love for the Savior) tried to take matters into his own hands and stop Jesus’ enemies; I once again picked up my sword and engaged into battle, uninvited.
A sanguine like Peter, I understand him too well. You see, when I sift my heart’s desire through the grid of God’s glory and my good, it fits perfectly. Just as it seemed so timely and honorable for Peter to defend His Master from those Romans, it seems fitting to me to ask God to fulfill this dream. The problem with my attitude is that I often forget that God designs the Master Plan and chooses to reveal it to me one step at a time. But because He has given me enough vision to set my heart on fire, I have a hard time standing still. Waiting is certainly not this girl’s forte.
I have a hard time waiting. My tendency is to somehow put my hands in the dough and “help” God accomplish His plan for my life. We must remember not be too hard on characters such as Peter and I, though. This is not an altogether bad trait. God certainly uses passionate, go-getters like us to accomplish His plan. As a matter of fact, I don’t think for a minute that Jesus was blaming Peter for drawing the sword; but for doing so at the wrong time. The time had come for Jesus to suffer and die. The sword of the Lord was drawn against Him (Zec 13:7). Peter’s heart was filled with zeal for his Savior and therefore he decided to fight for him. But Jesus mercifully reminded him of His sovereignty: “Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?” (v.53)
Yes, we need to be reminded that God doesn’t need us or our services to accomplish His purposes. Moreover, picking up the sword at the wrong time and uninvited may be a revelation of a flaw in our faith in Christ: That we think unless we do something, His plan will not be accomplished. When we take matters into our own hands, working hard at manipulating circumstances without consulting the Lord, our attitude is clear to Him: He sees that our disposition reflects more than mere impatience. It reveals that our faith needs maturing and strength.
My Limited Point of View
As worthy as Peter’s willingness to defend the Savior was, his impulse went against God’s will to fulfill His prophetic redemptive plan for mankind. Jesus was born into this world to die for our sins and He knew His time had come. Nothing would stop Him from accomplishing His Father’s will.
I wonder how many times we miss God’s best in life because we step ahead of Him. We sometimes pray for something for a long, long time – a dream or need. Then one day we wake up deciding that we have prayed for long enough. That’s when we pick up the sword and engage into battle, untimely, often just before God comes through with the answer to our prayers.
Peter picked up the sword. You may pick up the phone. Moses doubted and had to spend 40 years in the desert learning to let God fight his battles. We pick up our swords and open up doors forcefully and time and again find ourselves failing because we refuse to wait. Indeed, we have a lot in common with these giants of faith. We often try to win spiritual battles with carnal weapons. We need to remind ourselves that we fight Satan, not flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). The weapons we must use are spiritual, not fleshly (2 Cor 10:3-5). Nothing would have pleased Satan more than to have stopped Jesus from going to that dreadful cross. Likewise, he would be thrilled if he could prevent us from fulfilling God’s plan for our lives.
Gethsemane reminds me of more than the marvelous sacrifice that Jesus made for me. It reminds me to be totally, utterly surrendered to His perfect plan and His timing. It reminds me that, had Peter seen past the cross, he would not ever have drawn his sword. It reminds me that, if I could only see what God has in store for me, right past the Valley of Wait, I would certainly put my sword away every time.
What about you? Is it time for you to put your sword away? If so, I pray you hear the Master saying:
“There is life everlasting beyond that cross, Child. And you do not want to miss it. No, you don’t.”
Patricia Holbrook is a Bible teacher and the author of a series of thought-provoking and faith-challenging devotionals that she shares on her ministry’s blog, www.soaringwithHim.com.
Her passion for challenging her audience’s faith and walk with God has quickly made her blog a popular place for people from over 20 countries around the globe. Patricia is also a guest columnist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the largest newspaper in the South and reaching 500,000 readers weekly in Georgia, Alabama and north of Florida. She is also a guest writer for Christian magazines.
Patricia is originally from Brazil and has lived in the United States since 1999. She accepted Christ as her Savior at age 25 and attended a seminary in Brazil following her salvation. She is a national speaker at women’s retreats and conferences.
She lives with her husband and two daughters in Kennesaw, GA .