To Simon Peter:
I have heard all my life that you lacked faith. You only took a few steps onto the storm-tossed sea, only walked a few paces before the howling wind and swelling waves around you broke your focus.
I have heard people call you weak, for you fell asleep while Jesus prayed in the garden. You could not watch one hour.
I have heard that you denied the Christ, that you showed weakness and cowardice the night he was dragged before rulers who could flog and imprison, who wanted to torture and kill.
I have heard all these things, but I don't understand. I have never walked on water, but my faith has wavered. I have been consumed with the storms around me, but I didn't turn to Jesus straightaway.
I have never devoted all my time and energy to follow anyone, walking hot, dusty roads for three years, but I have slept through prayers.
I have never gone to places where I faced death or flogging because of my association with Jesus, but I have wavered in my witness.
You sank, but you walked on water. You trusted Jesus, not the arm of flesh. You slept, but you gave up your life. You denied knowing Jesus, but you were the only one who followed him there. You could only deny knowing him because you refused to leave him.
I hope the people who criticize you are wrong, for if your faith is weak, mine is dormant. If your strength wavered, then I wallow in weakness. If your courage or devotion were wanting, then I am the most craven of cowards.
There is one thing we have both done, one thing I have in common with you. I too have wept bitter tears when I see my failings, when I realize the ways I fall short. In that regard, at least, we are alike. And in one other--like you, I cling to my hope, my faith, and my trust in him--that he will save. That he will redeem. That he will forgive.