A Blogged Bible Study entry for John 21:
I tell you the solemn truth, when you were young, you tied your clothes around you and went wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will tie you up and bring you where you do not want to go.” (Now Jesus said this to indicate clearly by what kind of death Peter was going to glorify God.) After He said this, Jesus told Peter, “Follow me.” ~John 21:18-19
“Follow Jesus I will follow Jesus. Anywhere He leads me I will follow.
Follow Jesus I will follow Jesus. Anywhere He leads I’ll go.
Across the river, down through the valley, or if it be on a mountain high.
I’ll go Lord anywhere you want me. Take me, here am I.”
We sang that song on a teen trip in high school. It wasn’t a large congregation so the youth group didn’t have many kids. But, we were close. We had been practicing for our summer trip to Colorado. The plan was to sing at a couple of churches along the way.
Really, we only had about five singers in the group. The others just stood with us and mouthed the words. But I remember loving that song, singing it with my whole heart, knowing I meant every word. I also knew not everyone in the group felt the same.
I had visions of being a missionary to Africa. I really thought that’s what I’d end up doing. It wasn’t a scary thought to me. I imagined I could do it. I saw myself as quite a force to be reckoned with…then.
As time progressed I realized I wasn’t called to the mission field and began looking into another form of service. Teaching made the most sense to me, especially since I was marrying a preacher and we would probably be living in small towns. Teachers can always find work.
As more time passed small towns gave way to large cities, the pastorate gave way to computers, and my energy gave way to illness. We served as laypeople for many years, using the gifts of teaching the Lord had given us both.
Now we’re older. I don’t know that I would call us old, but we are feeling the aches of our age and the frustrations of not quite reaching the goals we had. We had a plan to “follow Jesus.” Yet, to us the plan looked very different than the reality.
Jesus told Peter some of what he would endure toward the end of his life. Many scholars believe this passage tells of the death he would endure, death by crucifixion. Peter knew it wasn’t going to be an easy road, this path of following Jesus. But He did it just the same. He knew he would have a miserable death. But he didn’t run from it. He understood the mission was to follow Jesus unto death. It wasn’t going to be a mountaintop experience for him. But still, he followed.
Even if life is not what you imagined it would be — this life of following after Jesus — it just might be the life He ordained for you. It just might be “the best life now” that will bring Him the most glory.
Even if it takes you “down through the valleys”…will you go anywhere He wants? Do you really mean it, or are you just mouthing the words?
Take me. Here am I.