I had screwed up royally.
That’s no exaggeration; I’m talking everything from sexual sin to underage drinking to being called in to see the Dean of Students at my university. I was in a bad way, and I knew I had to straighten up. I was doused in shame and hopelessness, certain that Jesus was as disgusted with me as I was with myself.
That is until I actually met Jesus; which, it turns out, is very different than simply knowing a lot about Him.
As I began reading the Bible trying to actually believe I was God’s beloved, everything changed. I had thought that I deserved for Jesus to feel distant—oh sure, He’d let me stay in the Christian club, but I could never get close to Him like the good girls could. But once the Holy Spirit convinced me of Who Jesus really was—One Who wasn’t just tolerating me, but who actually desired intimacy with me—I ran as hard as I could into His arms.
That feeling is exactly what today’s Gospel reading evokes in me. When Peter learns that the resurrected Jesus has come to them (John 21:7) he immediately leaps out of the boat and into the sea: no hesitations, no questions asked. He must have felt shame over denying the Lord three times before His death. He had to have been living in agony over it. But Peter knew Jesus so well that when He came again it didn’t matter; he knew that mercy was waiting for him with open arms, and he wasn’t going to miss his chance to receive it.
This apostle who had been so close to Christ knew that, despite his failures, he was still loved and wanted. Do we believe that too, you and I? Or are we holding Jesus at a distance, convinced that He doesn’t really want us too close? Our sin and shortcomings cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ. If we look for Him, He is always there with open arms. All we need do is jump into the sea.[Tweet “If we look for Him, He is always there with open arms.”]
Jump today into His arms, sisters. He is patiently waiting for you and me.
Shannon Evans is a Protestant missionary turned Catholic convert who lived to tell the tale. She is a writer, podcaster, and speaker, but potty training four boys will be the achievement on her epitaph. She and her family make their home in central Iowa, where they seek to live out the social teachings of the Church in their small and ordinary days. You can find out more about her here.