Steven Furtick - Let Down By God
This is an excerpt from: Life After The Let Down
So, for all of you who are coming to church for the message that God will never let you down, Peter wanted me to tell you sometimes he does a little bit. See, you keep basing it on your expectation and calling it faith. You customize the Bible to the parts that make you feel good and cut out all of the parts where they fished and caught nothing. What I love about this message, what I really love about this message, if you want to know what I really love about this message… It can apply to the Letdown or the letdown. The Letdown. Jesus went to the cross and died. That's about as bad as it gets. The guy you left everything to follow dies, and he's supposed to overthrow Rome and get the oppression out, but he doesn't. He dies. That's pretty bad. I have to clarify. This is not "Man, I had really hoped they were going to do 'Amazing Grace' at church today". This is not an "I really hope…" This is an "I risked everything".
Now, some people are not disappointed in God because they never really hoped in him to begin with. Peter was the leader. When he said, "I'm fishing," they said, "We're fishing too". When he jumped out of the boat, they were like, "Come on. Let's go to the shore. Peter is going to the shore". They were following Peter more than they were following Jesus at that point. The one with the greatest potential also experienced the greatest pain. That's a word for somebody. The more you hope and trust in God, the greater vulnerability there will be for those moments in your life where the Enemy whispers, "God is not with you," for those low moments. Who has been in a low moment lately? He's the Lord of those low moments. I know everybody tells you he's the resurrected Christ, and he is, but before he got up, he was laid down.
See how this is cyclical? See how when Peter says, "I will let down the nets" that wasn't the last letdown in the Scripture? If only that were the last letdown. If only Jesus didn't let Lazarus die. See, they've had practice for this. So have you. You have had practice to know that what you're going through right now that you don't think you're going to make it through… You thought you wouldn't make it through the last thing you were going through that you thought you wouldn't make it through, and you made it through that. Even you being here today is evidence of the fact that life will let you down. People will let you down. That's what I told Elijah the other day. I said, "Being a dad is my greatest privilege…"
Next to being Holly's husband. That's the main thing in my life. Even me being a dad, I wouldn't be able to do it without her. I mean, she's the only thing that makes me look good most days anyway. Being a dad is amazing, but I'm disappointed in being a dad from this perspective. Not because of you, not because of you, not because of you. You surprise me every day in good ways. No, I really love it. I love being a dad. But it's almost like when I thought of myself as a dad, I thought of myself like I would be coaching the players in a game. I would be on the sidelines calling the plays, telling them how to follow God and telling them how to be disciplined and teaching them in the ways they should go and training up a child, but in my picture of being a dad, I was doing all of this from the sidelines of parenthood.
Nobody told me they leave you in the game to get hit while you try to coach this team that is running down the field in the wrong direction. Nobody told me you don't get to take off the pads to be a parent. You still are getting hit. You're still dealing with whatever you brought into parenthood. There was no wand. In fact, is there any couple in the room that has been married for a year or less? You have that newlywed, Holy Ghost love. Stand up right now. Oh, let's give them a hand, y'all. Let's give them a hand for absolutely nothing. Oh, isn't that wonderful? Oh, that's wonderful. Did you do the marriage vows? Did you write your own vows? Did you put this part in? Look at each other right now. I'm going to do it real quick. I'm ordained. It's okay; I'm ordained. Say, "I will let you down".
Now sit down. I'll bet you didn't put it in. You didn't know to put it in. So, what you have in your relationship will not be known until after… I thought I'd be an amazing parent, because I thought I would have a box in the sky and a headset to call the plays they would give to the quarterback. I didn't know I'd be out here getting hit too. I didn't know I would let them down. The biggest thing in the passage to preach about isn't that Jesus let Peter down, because he got up, and he walked through lock doors to show Peter, "I told you. I told you". He walked through locked doors to show Thomas, "I died for you".
Now this is the third appearance, and it seems that Jesus is no longer dealing with the fact that he let Peter down. It seems like now he's trying to deal with the fact that Peter let him down and denied that he even knew Jesus. That's what Peter had to move through. He could get through the fact that it didn't end like he wanted, because he saw the resurrected Christ. John 21 is added in the Bible to show you that God knew the ways you would let him down before he ever called your name to follow him. If Jesus had gone back up to heaven before John 21, Peter could not have preached on the day of Pentecost. He was no longer living in the letdown of what Jesus didn't do; he was living in the letdown of what he didn't do for Jesus.
That is why it was important for Jesus to take time to cook breakfast for these disciples who denied him. Even the ones who didn't deny him disassociated from him. Even the ones who said, "I will follow you to death," even loudmouthed Peter who was willing to cut off an ear in the garden so no one would take his Lord away, even Peter who was willing to give Jesus his boat not even knowing yet where this journey would lead… Even Peter, in the moment of crisis, let him down. That's what I'm upset about, not that God let me down. If I'm honest, the biggest thing I have to process is that I constantly feel like I'm letting him down. That's why I go back fishing, doing what I know to do, because I don't want to let you down. "God, I'm sorry. I'm here again. Here I am struggling with this again. I've already had help with this. I've already prayed about this. You already taught me about this. I memorized Scripture, and here I am again. I let you down". God said, "Really? I wasn't aware that you were holding me up".
That's why he got up out of the grave. He wasn't holding anything but the keys to death, hell, and the grave. All of your sin, all of your shame, all of the record, all of the guilty stain… It was in the grave that he left. The only thing he was holding was the keys to let you know, Peter, you can't let him down. To disappoint God would mean you had something deep down inside that he didn't see. Since God is this thing called omniscient, which means all-knowing, and since he is all-seeing, and since he fills everything and every space, even the spaces in between the things you show him, even the spaces between Sundays where you struggle, even the spaces in between your great bursts of faith… Since he fills that space… He came to the shore to show you something that I want you to get the revelation for today. Not just that he got up. He got up.
Oh, isn't that wonderful? Not unless you believe that you can too. You have to get up. You must get up. Your purpose demands it. Your faith commends it. You must get up. This is not a suggestion; it's a command. If you have to jump in the water, you must get up. It's a summons to faith. You must get up, because there is life after the letdown. There is life after the letdown. Confess it by faith with your own mouth. "There is life after the letdown". Yeah, this didn't turn out how I wanted, but I'm going forward by faith, because there is life after the letdown. A lot of people left me. They left Jesus too. He called them friends. He didn't get bitter. He fed them breakfast, because there is life after the letdown. That lets me know he can forgive any dirty, rotten, stinking, sinful thing I do.
"How do you know that? How do you know he can still use me? How do you know God is not disappointed in me? How do you know he hasn't changed his mind? How do you know I didn't blow it? How do you know the best days aren't behind me? How do you know I didn't make a mistake I can't come back from"? How do I know it? Because the fish told me so. Not the ones Peter caught…the ones Jesus was already cooking when he got to the shore. See, he's not finished with you yet. That's why you didn't die yet. That's why some of you made a plan to kill yourself, but you couldn't. That was the grace of God to hold you up. He won't let you down that far. No, no, no. That's where my solid rock kicks in. He has a purpose for me. He has something to build through my life.