Every Monday, I post a reflection on the previous day’s Gospel reading often seeing ways those readings speak directly to those suffering from marital difficulties, abandonment, divorce, abuse, or similar tragedies. I believe God has given me a gift in the way I see things through my experiences and in His power to overcome them.
But today, I struggle with the Gospel of Matthew.
The Gospel of Matthew Chapter 16 13-20 is something I’ve thought about many times over the years and still have few answers for so I’m looking for help from my readers. Perhaps my lack of understanding here is God’s way of keeping me humble, of showing me I don’t have all the answers, or perhaps it is His way to keep me hungry for Him, to seek more of what flesh and blood cannot reveal but what only my Heavenly Father can reveal.
My question is this:
When Peter recognized Jesus as the Christ, as the Son of the living God, Jesus said to Peter,
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
which leaves me asking, “Why does Jesus not reveal Himself to all of us, to all humankind? Is it because of free will? Do we have to accept Him into our hearts to have Him revealed to us?” I do believe this is part of it, but it almost sounds like free will has been taken away here and God decides who He reveals Himself to.
If that is true (I don’t know that it is) are certain people predestined to be saved while others are predestined to be destroyed in hell for eternity? Are those committing atrocities, such as those committed against Christians in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere, just “lost causes?” Why doesn’t God reveal Himself to them? Could we be doing more to help reveal God to them? Do we have the right to ask God to give more of Himself?
I cannot tell you how uncomfortable I am writing this. It would be so much easier to write about Peter being the Rock or about the keys he is handed or who Christ really is, not John the Baptist or Elijah or anyone but the Son of the Living God, but that gets us nowhere.
That’s taking the easy way out.
And I have learned that the easy way out isn’t always the best way out, and we need to admit to our shortcomings and downfalls, our limited understandings and our failings.
And I am failing to understand this one verse, and that bothers me. I want to be prepared if I am ever questioned about it, so please help me understand.
Is my failure to understand this a question of my wanting control? Is it possible that I am afraid that it takes more than my acceptance of God to have God reveal Himself to me, that He must accept me too, and that, despite everything, a bit of me still fears I am unacceptable? Is it possible that I am afraid that if God decides not to reveal Himself to me one day, that I will lose Him too? Is the leftover sin from past relationships affecting my present relationship with God?
God’s Love is never ending. He is capable of a Love and a Promise none of us is capable of, but why were we chosen to have God reveal Himself to us? What makes us “better” (for lack of a better word) than those God does not reveal Himself to?
If only the heavenly Father can reveal Himself (I know I am powerless to do this) how do we “get” God to reveal Himself to those who do not know Him?
Thank you for joining me and helping me understand, and, if there are no answers, I will still thank the Lord for all that He has revealed for me, pray for greater revelation (although that sometimes scares me), and wait (somewhat) patiently for the day I understand more or trust so deeply that understanding is not necessary.