“But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, 'Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.' For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, 'Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.' And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him." Luke 5:8-11
Peter unexpectedly found the end of himself. In seeing the miraculous fish catch and glimpsing into Christ's unmistakable holiness, Peter found himself utterly empty and unworthy. Jesus’ radiant glory was too much to grasp when juxtaposed against Peter’s frailty and sin.
He was not the first to have this experience—meeting God and His messengers face to face and crumpling in fearful awe. Peter realized Christ's holiness was too much for him, so he asked Jesus to leave.
But Jesus didn’t leave—it's not in His nature. Instead, He drew near.
In this, and among stories in Scripture, we have a beautiful reminder that God draws near to the unworthy and broken. He does not discard the weak.
In fact, understanding the unfathomable depth of difference between us and God seems to be a prerequisite to Him using us for His kingdom. Note that the very moment Peter disqualifies himself from any meaningful godly use is exactly when Jesus calls Peter into ministry.
Quite often clients come to sessions in a similar state as Peter. They feel the weight of their sin and its entangling consequences. They feel unworthy.
We need not be afraid of these feelings. In God’s hands, these sobering feelings draw us into a deeper awareness of our desperate need for Him. They are also how we come to understand that God’s love and grace toward us is unearned. When at our most desperate, we are most ready to lay aside our petty attempts at fixing ourselves and instead receive by faith what God provides.
When our clients feel this desperate, we need to help them see Jesus and His nearness. Though they try to reject themselves, Jesus welcomes them into His beautiful kingdom work. Though they try to run, Jesus meets them on the way.
When entrusted to God, their sins and struggles prepare the way for fruitful ministry. So, may we patiently help our clients understand these truths. And further, may our welcoming presence and interactions with them display how the light of Christ lovingly draws near in the darkness.