A few years ago, Rebekah, my handmaiden, spent several days in Rome, Italy. Rebekah is an artist. She feasted her eyes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Square, art in the Vatican museum, buildings and arches dating back to the time of ancient Rome. She took pictures and told me about those things that made an indelible impression.
When she told me about the huge tapestries, 8 ft. x 15 ft. or larger, I took note. The tour guide explained that one family made each tapestry, and that it took three or four generations or longer to complete just one of them. Although I never saw the tapestries, these few words etched themselves into my spirit. Before sitting down to chronicle my Israel experience, I prayed,
“Lord, I ask that the Holy Spirit bring everything to my remembrance that is to be included in this manuscript.” He reminded me of the beautiful tapestries at the Vatican museum and said,
“I have etched into your memory those events and the names of people, movies, letters, prophecies, dreams, fairy tales, authors, and songs that have helped you find your way back to the Father’s house. Each event and the name of every person – living or dead – that you include, shall be a part of the tapestry you weave with your pen. This is My way of honoring them and letting them know that I am well pleased with the part they played. The dark threads in the tapestry are also a part of My design. Do not find fault with them. Do not attempt to exclude them. No one will have to travel to Rome to see the tapestry. No one will have to get a passport or pay a tour guide. The Holy Spirit will be the personal tour guide for every person who reads these pages.”
And then I asked, “Is there anything that I left out that you wish to have included?” At that point He reminded me of a personal conversation I had with Him on one of my daily walks.
Jesus: “Peter, why have you assumed the posture of a peacemaker all your life?”
Peter: “I adopted St. Francis of Assisi as my role model when I was a child. He was such a wonderful saint and an instrument of peace. I have always loved him and so have many others all over the world. When I was young, I heard a lot of wonderful stories about him and not too much about You.”
Jesus: “Were there some hidden motives why you chose St. Francis as your role model?”
Peter: “Yes, Lord, there were, but I did not recognize them until much later in life. I wanted to be a peacemaker because I was afraid to confront. I also wanted to be loved and admired like St. Francis.”
Jesus: “I don’t want you to be like St. Francis or any other saint. I am to be your only role model. You are to be conformed to My image. Whenever a sinner has been canonized and proclaimed a saint, the Church has given man the glory that belongs to Me. Nothing is lost when someone forgets St. Francis, St. Peter, or Peter, but everything is lost when someone forgets Me.”
Peter: “But Lord, I am so afraid to confront as You confronted the Pharisees and turned over the money changers’ tables. It’s just not my personality, my nature. Many will hate me if I confront as You do.”
Jesus: “I know, Peter, but I want you to have My personality, My nature. That way, My children will see Me in you. That’s all that matters. You can trust Me. I only want the very best for you.”
That was the end of my dialogue with Jesus. That day Peter repented. Peter the wimp became Peter the warrior. He stopped looking at St. Francis as his role model and invited Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah,
into his heart just as he had invited Jesus, the Lamb of God, into his heart years earlier.
Peter was on His Way and on his way to becoming a whole person and a healed person. The fear of man no longer ruled his life. He exchanged the fear of man for the fear of the Lord. “The fear of man bringeth a snare, but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25). And what Jesus did for Peter, He wants to do for every person.