"Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, 'Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?' When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, 'Lord, what about this man?' Jesus said to him, 'If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!'” (John 21:20-22)
All of us are called on a journey. We live as exiles—those who have yet to arrive at their true home. Yet, paradoxically, the path home is different for each of us. It contains similar elements yet the number of hills, turns, and the length of the path are never the same. Each path is intentionally designed by God for each person—carved in perfect wisdom and structured in love. It is the path that is best for us to take, though to our sight that may often appear to be untrue.
Peter was on a different path than John and as Peter peered over at John’s journey, he couldn’t help but think John’s path might be nicer. Or perhaps John’s path would be worse than his own and that would make him feel better. Jesus had just disclosed to Peter the ending of his path and it didn’t sound quite as great as Peter would’ve liked. Peter’s inquiry on the outcome of John’s life was met with a clarifying question and command by Jesus. "'If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!'"
In two short sentences, Jesus recalibrates Peter’s reality. John’s path was not Peter’s and knowing more about it would not change the journey set before Peter. In fact, it might be a hindrance to moving forward—for it is nearly impossible to stay on course when our eyes are devoted to other things. Jesus calls Peter to stay in his lane and follow the One who has already gone before him.
This is the calling for each of us and each of our clients. Our paths are different, yet the Waymaker has walked them all and invites us to follow Him. Faith is the fuel that allows us to continue when what we see ahead seems perilous. Comparing paths with our neighbors will often be unhelpful, for their path was designed for their feet and not ours. As counselors, it is our unique challenge and joy to help each client see and embrace the journey set before them and, with a faith-filled vision, courageously continue in the footsteps of their loving Savior.