Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Last week I was asked why my connection to people in the Philippines is so important to me. After I explained my history with the mission work there, they understood. Well, almost. I finished my conversation by telling them about roosters. I will never forget the very first night I spent at the Bible College outside of Davao City. It was thirty years ago this month. It was so hot, and I had a difficult time sleeping. Then, at around five in the morning, the first rooster crowed. It touched me deeply in my soul. I was not angry for being awakened. In fact, it was just the opposite. I fell in love with the morning greeting because it reminded me of the story of Peter.
John 18:25-27 “Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.”
When that first rooster crowed, I was overwhelmed with the joy of the Holy Spirit. I realized in that moment that I had not denied Jesus. Every morning when the rooster crowed I was reminded of the previous day’s faithful service to the Lord. I would pray for the Holy Spirit’s presence and power to be faithful in this new day. Now, thirty years later, I still consider that to be one of my favorite connections to the Philippines.
I prefer my memory of a rooster crowing to that of Peter’s. Roosters mean faithfulness to me. Roosters meant denial of Jesus to Peter. However, I am convinced that the forgiveness of Jesus that Peter experienced on the shores of the sea erased the shame and guilt of a rooster crow. I am certain that from the moment Jesus told Peter to feed the sheep, a rooster crow was a reminder of God’s faithfulness not his failure.
We have reminders of our failures right along side of reminders of God’s faithfulness. Sometimes, like a rooster crow, they are the same reminder. However, the choice of memories is yours. We can choose to respond to the reminder by fixing our eyes on Jesus or by focusing on self. One choice brings joy; the other produces shame. I choose joy. I choose to let the reminders of past darkness be absorbed into the daylight of God’s grace. Don’t let the rooster remind you it is still dark. Every rooster crow is a reminder of a new day beginning.